At that time the couple refused to sign the baby’s death certificate because they didn’t believe the coroner’s reason for his death.
Steve and Mathilde believed then and now that Christopher died from septicaemia resulting from the triple vaccination given to him at his doctor’s surgery.
Although Christopher was admitted as a suspected victim of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the results of blood tests carried out by North Middlesex Hospital indicated an infection.
The dispute arose when pathologists failed to establish the origin of that infection, causing the coroner to revert to the initial diagnosis and record a verdict of cot death.
Steve says that after Christopher’s funeral was postponed, the difficulty of the task ahead – to persuade the authorities to re investigate the death – began to dawn on him.
‘The more I protested, the more I argued that it couldn’t have been cot death, the more the experts would pat me on the back and say: “Yes, that’s exactly how all parents feel after a cot death. It’s only natural to want some kind of explanation.” ‘
It would take three years before Steve would be granted a court order to obtain Christopher’s medical records and, as he would discover, his progress would only get slower.
He has been deserted by solicitor after solicitor; he has watched years slip by as consultant pathologists, employed at great expense, uncovered nothing that Steve didn’t already know.
The stress from Steve’s ‘one-man campaign’ ultimately broke up his marriage.
‘It destroyed our marriage,’ Matilde said from her home in Florida. ‘Steve is a good man, but he became obsessed. He bought a lot of medical books and read them obsessively. With every little setback he would get very, very upset and it was difficult to live with sometimes.’ The couple have never properly said goodbye and has never visited Chrisptopher’s body, which has remained untouched since its arrival at Hornsey Coroner’s Court all those years ago.
‘I find it hard to express the pain I feel at the thought of our baby lying there in the cold,’ says Steve. ‘It’s like some kind of torture to think of his little body not laid to rest. But I have to think about it – because it’s what spurs me on.
‘When people hear that Christopher is unburied they think I am some sort of nutter who just can’t let go,’ says Steve, who lives in a two-bedroom house in Bush Hill Park, North London. ‘But that is not the case. I simply want there to be a proper investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. Do they really think I want Christopher lying there officially undead?’
Authorities are now facing the couple to bury the baby. Plans for his burial are being made by a council.
We’re not happy that the council are making funeral plans, but we’re glad our son will be laid to rest,’ Mathilde explains.
‘As a Catholic, this has been difficult for me. I believe his soul is trapped until he is buried. And as a mother, I wanted so much to put flowers on his grave.’
Although Steve vows to keep on fighting, he accepts that once Christopher is interred, the battle for further investigation may be truly hopeless.
He is now focused on winning the right to arrange Christopher’s funeral himself.