‘What killed my baby boy?’ No answers for grieving Hartlepool mum

Riley Mann
Riley Mann
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BEAUTIFUL Riley Mann’s face is lit up with the “perfect smile that everyone fell in love with” – just days after this picture was taken he tragically died.

The adorable three-month-old was happy, playful and spoilt rotten by his doting mum.

Proud Sharnie Mann, 18, clings to the memories and more than 800 beautiful photographs she has of her “perfect son”.

But she also recalls the awful moment when she woke up next to Riley to the frightening realisation that he wasn’t breathing.

Today, she bravely looks back at the tragic death of her only child but insists: “I only try to think about the time I had with him.

“It’s better to have little time with someone than no time at all.

“I think about him first thing on a morning and last thing on a night, he was the perfect son.”

Riley never suffered any sort of health problems before his sudden and tragic death.

He woke up at around 2am on May 10 and Sharnie fed him before the youngster fell back asleep.

Around five hours later Sharnie awoke to find her young son lifeless. She frantically screamed for help from her parents David Gibson, 45, and Tracey Mann, 44, whose house they were in at the time, and then called 999.

Paramedics rushed to the house, in Cherry Walk, and tried in vain for more than 30 minutes in an ambulance outside the house to resuscitate Riley, but tragically it was too late.

And to make the tragic loss of her son even worse for Sharnie, she will never know what it was that caused his death after expert pathologists were unable to find an ascertained reason for the fatality.

At Riley’s inquest this week, town coroner Malcolm Donnelly said: “No stone has been unturned in trying to find the cause of Riley’s death.

“But despite this, none of the paediatric or forensic pathologists could find a cause of death.”

Sharnie told the Mail: “That’s the one thing I wish, that I knew the reason, at least then I could try to understand why this happened.

“Not a moment goes past when I don’t think about him.

“Last week I walked past the Headland Carnival and all I could picture was me and him sat on one of the kids rides.

“He was one of a kind, always smiling and giggling, people just fell in love with his smile.

“He never had chance to cry because somebody was always picking him up and playing with him.”

Sharnie’s younger sister, Tennille Mann, 16, said: “He will always be loved by all of the family millions and more.”

At the inquest, coroner Mr Donnelly added: “The conclusion I have to reach is this is an open verdict.

“We just don’t know how Riley died.

“We have had the very best pathologists in the country looking and trying to find out and they have been unable to do so.

“Maybe in 100 years time we will know better but that doesn’t make it any easier for the family.”