THE father of a toddler who died of severe head injuries failed to tell doctors about a fall his son had suffered until after his death, an inquest heard.
Tayler Mason, who lived with his family at his home in Humber Walk, Banbury, was admitted to the Horton General Hospital with head injuries and bruising in the early hours of November 5, 2010.
The youngster was transferred to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital the same day but died of his injuries a week later.
The inquest at Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court heard Tayler’s father Craig Mason did not tell the authorities that Tayler had fallen from a kitchen work surface in the afternoon of November 4 and hit his head.
Mason, then 33, of High Street, Middleton Cheney, was jailed for 15 months in May last year for neglect, but this was reduced to 10 months on appeal.
Det Sgt Rob Storrar told the inquest in Oxford yesterday: “In a nutshell it was classed as neglect. Craig Mason had information in his possession that he chose not to share with the authorities.”
In a police interview read to the inquest, Mason said he would never intentionally hurt his son and was scared of telling the police about the fall.
He added: “It just went hectic. It is like a hole had opened up. I didn’t know how to get out of the hole I had fallen into.”
Tayler’s mum Karla Mason said: “I didn’t find out about the fall until the Sunday, and I just told Craig to deal with it. He was the one who needed to tell somebody.”
She added that the legal advice he was given was not to say anything until his solicitor had spoken to the police.
Following the death, a serious case review was published by the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board, in December last year, raising concerns about how the authorities dealt with the incident.
Tayler’s family first came into contact with social services in September 2009 when a nurse spotted bruising on the toddler. A paediatrician confirmed the bruises were not caused deliberately.
They were also contacted in June 2010 following an anonymous call that reported Tayler was seen with bruising, but the inquest heard the call was not recorded by social services, which Coroner Darren Salter said was “surprising and unfortunate,” and no action was taken.
Mrs Mason told the inquest Tayler was a “bumpy child”.
Mr Salter recorded an open verdict and said the child had suffered trauma to his skull which caused swelling on the brain that led directly to his death.
After the inquest, Oxfordshire County Council’s deputy director for children’s social care Lucy Butler said of the serious case review: “Each organisation was given a clear set of recommendations, all of which have been implemented, and we are pleased the coroner acknowledged that point.”