'Beautiful' Stourport girl, 7, died of natural causes, inquest hears

'DRAMA QUEEN': Nicole Murphy, 7, who died of natural causes triggered by chickenpox.

'DRAMA QUEEN': Nicole Murphy, 7, who died of natural causes triggered by chickenpox.

First published in News
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THE father of a "beautiful little girl" who died aged seven from a possible epileptic fit brought on by chickenpox, said he had "no idea" about the dangers of the virus.

Aaron Murphy, 29, of Stourport, said he hoped to raise awareness of the complications that can be caused by the common childhood illness after an inquest was held into the death of his daughter Nicole Murphy today.

Marguerite Elcock, Worcestershire deputy coroner, concluded that Nicole died of natural causes but said science could not give the Murphy family an exact medical reason.

Burlish Park Primary School pupil Nicole was rushed to Worcestershire Royal Hospital after she was found not breathing by Mr Murphy at their home in The Spinney at 3am on Sunday, December 28 last year.

Mr Murphy had been regularly checking on all three of his and partner Clare Rush's children throughout the night, including two-year-old Jenna and Preston, five, who were also suffering from chickenpox.

After calming Nicole down a number of times, he returned at 3am to find her unresponsive and called for an ambulance. She later died in hospital.

Evidence at the inquest was provided by Dr Nikola Ostojic, a paediatric pathologist in Leicester, who conducted Nicole's post-mortem.

He said he could not confirm the cause of Nicole's death but did say there was some evidence of pneumonia and a cyst in her brain.

He told the court: "One of the explanations was Status Epilepticus (SE). It can happen in children and in more than half of cases without previous evidence of epilepsy.

"The other thing that made me think of that possibility is in half of cases in children the SE can be triggered by infection and fever.

"SE can happen in different ways. One way is that a person affected has fits which you can see, the other type of SE is one which goes without fits meaning it can happen without notice."

In her conclusion, Ms Elcock said: "It may be that Nicole was very poorly with chickenpox and as a result she may have had an epileptic fit."

After the inquest, Nicole's grandmother Tanya Murphy, of Coventry, who was in court supporting her son today, recalled how Nicole hated giving her nanny a kiss and was always a "fighter".

Mrs Murphy said: "We've lost an absolutely beautiful little girl. My main thing was to make sure she didn't suffer. It kind of has put my mind at rest."

Mr Murphy said: "She was a drama queen and very girly. She was kind but she had her moments.

"It's just about awareness. I had no idea it [chickenpox] could cause the shut-down of organs. I thought the worst thing was it'll scar if you scratch them."

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