Fern Foster Inquest – Max Newman

After lunch, and a technical delay, court resumed on the afternoon of Day One with Max Newman, Fern’s partner, giving his evidence to the court. The coroner apologised to the court, and Max in particular who he imagined had been gathering his thoughts for the delay, before Max swore an oath.

Coroner: Afternoon to you, thank you ever so much for coming to court today and providing a statement as well. I’m going to look to your representative, Mr Powell to gather some of your thoughts and recollections

FP: Max, I know this is really difficult for you, Fern was really important to you and you miss her a lot, and you wanted to come here to tell the court what happened

MN: Yes

FP: Can I ask you first about Fern as a person. You said in your statement she was a very kind, lovely and sweet person….[missed] I miss her all the time and I still find it hard to cope without her, she wanted to change the world.

Is there anything you wanted to add to that?

MN: No

FP: Can I ask you some questions about your baby. We understood you weren’t allowed to live with Fern and your baby after they left hospital in January 2020?

MN: Yes

FP: Can you help us with what effect that had on Fern?

MN: She started saying things about suicide and things like that, and looking on the internet about autistic people who have killed themselves and stuff like that

FP: Can I turn to the tragic events of 8 July, the date of Fern’s death

MN: Yes

FP: Did you receive an email from your solicitor about the Family Court proceedings?

MN: Yes, I was on the bus going back to the flat

FP: Do you remember what that letter said?

MN: Some of it yeh, they think it would be better if they put the baby up for adoption.

FP: Did you show that email to Fern?

MN: Yeh

[Interjection about technology matters]

FP: Max I was asking you about this email you got from your solicitor, you received on the bus with Fern, going back to your flat?

MN: Yes

FP: You said the letter was about the potential adoption of your baby?

MN: Yeh

FP: Did you show that email to Fern?

MN: Yeh, I did yeh

FP: Do you remember what was Fern’s reaction to seeing the email?

MN: She started crying and stuff and rang her mum. I did say to her, well if you get a mother and baby care unit thing you should be alright.

FP: Did you stay with Fern while she spoke to her mum or did you go back to the flat?

MN: I went back to the flat

FP: What did you do when you went back to the flat?

MN: I just laid down in bed

FP: Do you remember roughly how long it was before Fern came back?

MN: 5 or 10 mins

FP: When she came back to the flat were you still lying on your bed?

MN: Yeh

FP: Did you say anything to Fern when she came in?

MN: I said are you ok or something, but I wasn’t really looking at her, I was sleeping

FP: When you asked if she was alright did Fern respond?

MN: I don’t remember… then I remember Fern going into the bathroom and I shouted to her not to do anything stupid

FP: Why did you say that?

MN: Because she was always trying to kill herself, so I thought I’d say that

FP: This time when you heard Fern go into the bathroom, were you still lying on your bed at this stage?

MN: Yeh only for couple minutes, then I went to check on her

FP: Why did you check on her, do you remember?

MN: Just to see what she was doing

FP: In your statement you mentioned you remembered after couple minutes Fern had [withheld] a couple weeks before?

Freddy went on to ask Max questions about what happened next, which details the last hour or so of Fern’s life. Mindful of the Samaritan’s guidance and the coroner’s request about concerns for public health, I’m not going to report it.

The court heard that Max called Fern’s mum, found the letter with the address on, and called an ambulance. He then attempted CPR before the ambulance crews arrived.

Freddy says that those are all the questions he had. There are no questions from counsel for any of the other Interested Persons. The coroner thanks Max for attending and assisting the court.


The final person to give evidence yesterday, on Day One of Fern’s inquest was her father, Kieran. I need a typing break so will report that later/tomorrow. Unfortunately I am unable to attend court throughout Fern’s inquest but will attempt to return at the end.

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