Father acquitted by jury of killing son held responsible by high court judge

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A father who was acquitted by a jury of killing his six-week-old son has been named as the person responsible for his death in a ruling by a high court judge.

Craig Beattie, 35, was found not guilty of the manslaughter of his son, Kye Kerr, following a trial at Liverpool crown court in November last year.

The baby died after being found unconscious by his mother in his basket at the family home in Carlisle in 2011. It was later found that he had sustained a fractured skull prior to his death.

It has now been revealed that a ruling on the case by a leading high court judge, which was withheld from the jury in order not to prejudice the trial, concluded that the father was responsible for the injuries which ultimately resulted in his son’s death.

The case has clear parallels with that of 13-month-old Poppi Worthington, who died from serious injuries in December 2012. A family court judgment by the same judge, Mr Justice Jackson, found that on the civil standard of the balance of probabilities Poppi had been sexually assaulted by her father Paul before her death.

Paul Worthington was arrested and questioned on suspicion of sexual assault at the time of his daughter’s death, but was never charged with any offence. He denies any wrongdoing in relation to his daughter.

John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, where Worthington was from, said: Poor baby Kye has been failed by authorities and the justice system just as Poppi was failed.

This chilling tragedy is another clear example of the often dysfunctional relationship between the people who are supposed to work together to protect children from harm.

The most striking similarity is of another father suspected of killing his child trying to suppress damning findings from a family court; I will be writing to the new justice secretary asking her to review urgently the status of family court findings in criminal trials.

In his report into the death of Kye Kerr, which was revealed by the Sun newspaper, Jackson writes: Having considered all the available information, I have reached the clear conclusion that the father was responsible for both occasions of injury to K, and that the injuries on the second occasion caused K’s death.

On the first occasion, the father shook K in a manner clearly inappropriate for such a young baby. On the second, the father struck K’s head against a hard surface with enough violence to fracture his skull and cause fatal brain injuries.

He realised that K had been hurt, but instead of seeking help, put him in his Moses basket in the bedroom, hoping all would be well and determined to conceal what he had done.

In Jackson’s ruling on the death of Poppi Worthington he criticised the police for carrying out no real investigation into the death of the toddler for nine months, and highlighted a list of basic errors in evidence-gathering, including not securing the scene, failing to take vital items for forensic analysis, and a senior detective not visiting the family home.

In July, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that Poppi’s father would not face any criminal charges. Poppi was buried in February 2013, precluding a further postmortem, after her body was released by the local coroner. There is now said to be an absence of evidence to definitively prove if or how she was injured, or how she died.

In June, a serious case review criticised authorities for having had insufficient professional curiosity about the family of Kye Kerr. The review found that earlier assessments of the family had been inadequate and the information was not shared properly with other agencies.

News Source TheGuardianNews

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