A witness has told for the first time the shocking story of a Sports Direct warehouse worker giving birth in the toilets.
The mother, from eastern Europe, delivered her child in a cubicle at the company’s Shirebrook warehouse complex, in Derbyshire, on New Year’s Day 2014.
The warehouse worker repeatedly told concerned colleagues she ‘had to go back to work’ as her baby struggled to survive, a witness said, after the woman had cut its umbilical cord herself with a box cutter.
An East European Sports Direct worker reportedly gave birth in a warehouse toilet
By the time the alarm was raised, she was covered in blood and her child was fighting for its life in a bucket in the next door cubicle. Marguerite Severn, who is in her sixties, was one of the first on the scene.
‘It was the evening shift, at around 8pm or 8.30pm,’ said the former security team leader, who worked at the firm until 2015.
Speaking for the first time, she said: ‘The girl was in a cubicle. She had her jeans on but there was blood all over the floor.
‘We thought she was haemorrhaging. Someone noticed there was blood in the next door cubicle, and when we went in there was a baby there, too, in a sanitary bucket.
‘We picked it up and one of the workers gave it mouth-to-mouth.
‘But all the girl kept saying was ‘I’ve got to go back to work, I’ve got to go back to work’. She had had the baby and cut the cord with a box cutter.’
The infant was given first aid, an ambulance was called and it later recovered in hospital.
The mother, now 33, was arrested and released without charge. It is believed the child is no longer in her care.
Severn added that her supervisor and employment agency had said they were not aware the woman was pregnant.
In 2016 MPs heard that Sports Direct staff were so scared of losing their jobs they came to work heavily pregnant, although it is not known the circumstances in which the mother came to work.
And the company has denied that anyone turned up to work when they were unfit to do so.
Sports Direct declined to comment.