Today's picks

    ‘I BLAME MYSELF’ Shattered Dundee mum whose tot suffocated by teddy bear in ‘constant state of anxiety’ and now can’t let other daughter sleep alone

    A SHATTERED mum blames herself for the death of her baby girl after a teddy bear she placed to stop the tot falling out of bed ended up suffocating her.
    Dexy-Leigh Walsh, 23, said she is tortured by feelings of guilt as she recalled the horror moment she went to wake 18-month-old daughter Connie and discovered she wasn’t breathing.
    The distraught parent explained she was opening up about her ordeal in the hope it may stop others from making the same fatal mistake.
    She said: “It was the worst moment of my life. I don’t want any other parents to have to go through this agony.”
    Dexy-Leigh had put Connie to sleep at their home in Linlathen, Dundee, with the 2ft bear wedged between her bed and a wall.
    At the time she thought it was a safe way to stop the toddler tumbling out and getting injured.
    But it’s believed Connie ended up under the furry toy as she slept and was smothered.
    Her mum said: “I’ve been blaming myself since this happened.
    “I stuffed some teddies round the bed so that my wee girl wouldn’t fall and hurt herself — but it was the teddy that killed her.
    “She must have wriggled in her sleep and the way she’s done it she’s wriggled backwards under the bum of the big teddy.
    “With how she ended up, there was no chance of her surviving.”
    Dexy-Leigh lives with boyfriend Murray Shields, 22, and her other daughter Dior, five.
    She described her terror after finding Connie lifeless beneath the plaything.
    She said: “I ran back into my bedroom and I was screaming that Connie was dead.
    “I was in such a state of shock that I didn’t even realise Dior was standing beside me.
    “I shouted, ‘Murray, Murray, she won’t wake up.’
    “I cuddled Connie for half an hour after she passed away. It was the worst moment of my life — I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”
    Connie was found dead on March 6 and laid to rest a fortnight later.
    Police are still treating the death as unexplained, with further tests needed to establish an exact cause.
    Following the tragedy the family moved out of their home as they couldn’t bear the agony.
    They have since returned but distraught Dexy-Leigh admits she now sleeps beside her other child every night so she can check that she is OK. She said: “I’m still totally numb. This has turned my life upside down.
    “Since coming back to the house I can’t sit on my own and we now sleep downstairs.
    “I won’t let Dior sleep herself and I prod and poke her during the night to make sure she’s fine.
    “It seems I’m in a constant state of anxiety. Dior is not even allowed to play in her room by herself.
    “And I still can’t bear to go back into Connie’s room.
    “The feeling is indescribable. Even just saying that Connie has died doesn’t feel real.”
    Despite her grief, Dexy-Leigh is determined to warn others about the dangers of leaving cuddly toys near sleeping kids. This week she set up a Facebook page to spread the message.
    And her first post explaining her family’s tragedy has already been viewed more than 40,000 times.
    She said: “When I go on social media and see people showing off photos of teddy bears in their kids’ beds, it freaks me out.
    “That’s what made me realise that I had to stop this.
    “Some people like the look of teddies in their children’s beds but I beg them, please take them away if the baby is sleeping.
    “I’m also trying to warn people not to stuff their children’s beds with pillows because it leaves them with no space to breathe.
    “I never want another parent to go through this agony that I’m now suffering.”
    Dexy-Leigh believes her little girl would still be alive today if the brown teddy bear hadn’t been on her bed.
    She continued: “Connie was able to walk about and pick things up and dance.
    “So you would have thought that if she did get stuck she would have been able to move and free herself — but, sadly, that didn’t happen.
    “So far my story on Facebook has reached around 40,000 people.
    “But if the message gets through to five, ten or even 5,000 it might save someone else’s baby.
    “I’ve already had messages from people saying they have emptied their child’s bed since reading it.
    “But it’s just awful that something so horrifying had to happen for people to realise the dangers. I will never come to terms with what happened to Connie.”

    Related Articles