Family Law Titles
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(Family Division, Pauffley J, 2 November 2012)
The 8-week-old baby died following a collapse at home. A CT scan showed extensive blood in and around the baby's brain. Following her admission to hospital when no brain function could be detected, nor respiratory effort or spontaneous movement, treatment was withdrawn.
A fact-finding hearing took place in order to ascertain the cause of death and to make long-term arrangements for the baby's two siblings, aged 5 and 2, who were currently living with foster carers.
The medical consensus was that the baby died as a result of a non-accidental head injury with associated bruising and rib fractures and in addition she sustained inflicted posterior rib and tibial fractures between 10 and 14 days prior to her death.
The judge rejected the suggestions that one of the older siblings had caused the injuries and that the father may have inadvertently caused the injuries by shaking the baby to resuscitate her.
The judge concluded that the baby's death was caused by a traumatic shaking-type injury which included an element of impact. She was injured just prior to the making of the emergency call almost certainly as the result of a brief but violent loss of control by one of the parents. It was not possible to say which parent caused the fatal injury or the fractures inflicted in the weeks prior to her death.
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