Family of missing mother and baby found dead at cliff after going missing from hospital ward pay emotional tribute to tragic couple saying they ‘are now at peace’ — (Daily Mail)

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Daily Mail Online

The distraught family of the mother and newborn baby found dead after they left hospital two days ago say the pair are ‘now at peace’.

The body of Charlotte Bevan, 30, was found in the Avon Gorge in Bristol last night. Her newborn Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck was discovered earlier today a short distance away.

Today her mother Rachel Fortune, said: ‘My beautiful daughter and grand-daughter are now at peace.’

Miss Bevan had walked out of the Bristol Maternity Hospital wearing thin hospital slippers and no coat, with her daughter wrapped in just a blanket at 9pm on Tuesday.

A walker found Miss Bevan’s slippers and the baby’s blanket at the top of the cliff and called the police.

CCTV footage showed the charity worker walked past at least four nurses and out of the hospital without anyone stopping her.

Mrs Fortune added in the statement: ‘The family would like to thank all the friends of Pascal, Charlotte and Zaani, some of whom we have only met today.

 ‘We would also like to say thank you for all the messages from everyone.

‘We wish to thank all the hospital staff at St Michael’s and the mental healthcare team, past and present.

‘The response and support from the public has been overwhelming and we would like to thank you all.

‘We would also like to give our thanks to Avon and Somerset police and the volunteers from Avon Search and Rescue.

‘We thank the press for their help and ask that we now be left in peace to grieve.’

University Hospitals Bristol Trust said today they would launch a ‘thorough review’ into the care Charlotte and Zaani Tiana received, including security on the postnatal ward.

Other mothers from the city have accused the hospital of ‘letting down’ the mother and her new baby, because Miss Bevan was known to have had problems with depression. 

The 30-year-old may have stopped taking medication for depression so that she could breastfeed Zaani. She is also understood to have been treated for schizophrenia and was also severely sleep deprived.

Last night a walker found some belongings at the top of the Avon Gorge and a police helicopter found a body below the Clifton Suspension Bridge, but they did not find a baby until around 3pm.

Charlotte’s family helped identify her today as search teams were combing the area for signs of the missing newborn, who may have been out in near-freezing conditions since Tuesday night.

Speaking at a press conference overlooking Avon Gorge, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Crisp described the deaths as a ‘dreadful, awful, frustrating business’.

He said: ‘A member of the public was walking along the cliff edge along the cliff path and noticed those distinctive white slippers, similar to the ones Charlotte was wearing, and the multi coloured blanket, which was also distinctive.

‘Unfortunately that led us to finding the body of a woman which has since been formally identified as Charlotte Bevan.

‘The search of the cliff face continued throughout the night. We were very keen to locate Zaani Tiana who was Charlotte’s newborn daughter.

‘I regret to inform you that a short time ago on the cliff face, close to Charlotte, the body of a small baby girl has been found.

‘No formal identification has so far taken place but we anticipate that it is going to be Charlotte’s daughter.

‘This is a dreadful, awful, frustrating business and our thoughts are with the family at this time.

‘We will be conducting an investigation on behalf of the coroner. At the moment we are not treating either death as suspicious.’

A spokeswoman for University Hospitals Bristol Trust said a review of the care Ms Bevan and her baby received would be undertaken.

Speaking after her body was formally identified a Trust spokesman said: ‘We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Charlotte Bevan and offer our heartfelt condolences to her family.

‘While it remains unclear as to how Charlotte died, we will be conducting a thorough review of the care Charlotte and her baby received to see if there was anything we could have done to prevent this tragic and unexplained death.’

The new mother’s disappearance on Tuesday night sparked a widespread police search as her worried mother and boyfriend pleaded with her to come home.

Pascal Malbrouck, 37, Miss Bevan’s boyfriend and Zaani’s father, had yesterday issued a heartfelt plea for her to ‘please come back’ and spoken of how they were excited to be new parents.

Detectives are trying to piece to together what caused her to pick up her new baby and walk out of hospital, saying she was ‘confused and worried’.

She vanished between her boyfriend Pascal leaving her bedside at 8.30pm and nurses carrying out a regular check just after 9pm.

Friends have been helping in the search. One said Miss Bevan had suffered from depression since the death of her father Roy in 2000 aged 51: ‘Her father died of a brain tumour when she was 15 and the bottom dropped out of her world. She was badly affected.’

Hours before she went missing, Ms Bevan posted a self-help video on her Facebook page called Get Through Positive And Negative Thinking Rough Patches.

But earlier this month she had posted happy pictures of herself with her baby bump on the social networking site, where she also described herself as a ‘free spirit’.

Last night an Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that the body of a woman has been found in the Avon Gorge in Bristol.

‘Formal identification will not take place until tomorrow, Thursday.

‘The family of Charlotte Bevan, who was reported missing last night, have been informed of this development.

‘The police helicopter remains in the area to assist the continuing searches by police officers on the ground.’

The Avon Gorge is a mile and a half away from the hospital where Charlotte Bevan went missing with her newborn baby.

A cordon was put in place along the A4, Portway, below it and the Clifton Suspension Bridge and there was heavy police presence on the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

A scientific investigations team, along with police officers, were scouring a ledge in the grounds of Clifton Observatory above the Avon Gorge.

Rope access teams were also scaling the cliffs, while a police helicopter circled the area, with a search light. An ambulance team remained at the top of the ledge.

Pascal Malbrouck, 37, had begged for her to ‘please come back’ and said he was ‘heartbroken’ by what had happened.