An Eastbourne father accidentally smothered his six-day-old baby after falling asleep in front of the television.

Shaun Murphy, of Pensford Drive, had bottle-fed baby Shannon before falling asleep on a sofa in the lounge, an inquest heard yesterday.

He was woken by girlfriend Lisa McGhee, 19, who had become worried after she could not see their child in her cot.

The baby was found wedged underneath Mr Murphy, the coroner heard.

Despite efforts from the couple and paramedics to revive her, she was declared dead at Eastbourne District General Hospital on February 1.

Mr Murphy, 19, a scaffolder, said: "Shannon woke up so I picked her up and fed her.

"She finished her bottle and I winded her and must have fallen asleep with her.

"I woke up to Lisa telling me she was dead."

Mr Murphy, of Pensford Drive, Eastbourne, and Ms McGhee, Shannon's mother, had been sleeping on two sofas downstairs in their three-bedroom house, while they lent their room to a cousin.

The couple usually placed Shannon in a Moses basket between them, the inquest was told.

Miss McGhee, who has two other sons aged two-and-a-half and 18 months, told the court she had a normal labour and birth with Shannon and said she was a healthy baby.

She told the court she had been with Mr Murphy for three and a half years.

After the death, the child protection team, based at Hailsham police station, was called in to investigate.

Detective Sergeant Keith Lindsay said no evidence had been found to suggest Shannon had died from any other causes and neither parent had taken any drugs or alcohol that night.

Pathologist Sir Colin Berry at the Royal London Hospital concluded Shannon had died as a result of asphyxia.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: "Sadly, the deaths of tiny babies do occur.

"Sadly, in many cases it is not possible to be certain about what has happened. In this case it is not possible to be absolutely certain about what has happened in the sense there were no independent witnesses watching what was going on.

"But we can be, in my view, as near certain as one could conceivably be that what we have been told by the two parents is what happened."