A couple found guilty of causing or allowing the death of their baby son have both been jailed for seven years.
Seven-week-old Jamie Kightley suffered severe brain injuries and more than 40 fractures. He died soon after he was admitted to hospital on 17 March 2012.
Jacqueline Parker, 21, and Adam Kightley, 24, of Northampton, were originally on trial for murder.
Judge Jeremy Baker, at Nottingham Crown Court, said Jamie had come to “deliberate traumatic harm”.
He said during his short life, Jamie had been subjected to violence on at least two and probably three occasions.
The judge said Parker would serve her time in a young offenders institution and Kightley would be sent to prison.
A murder charge against the couple was dropped during the trial.
The prosecution said Jamie had been assaulted about two weeks before he died and again hours before his death, but that both parents had “hidden behind a wall of silence” regarding who was responsible.
Medical evidence showed Jamie suffered injuries consistent with being grabbed around the middle and shaken, the jury heard.
Rest in peace baby Jamie
Kightley and Parker agreed they had been drinking and smoking cannabis the night before Jamie’s death but denied doing anything to harm their son.
When asked about bruises on his body, Parker claimed she had not seen them until Jamie was in hospital.
Judge Baker said the baby had been shaken with sufficient violence to cause him to suffer bleeding to the eyes and brain damage leading to his death as a result of respiratory and cardiac arrest.
He told the couple that “the episodes of violence would not only have caused pain and upset to Jamie but, more significantly, would have caused visible bruising to his body, which should at the very least have asked you to seek prompt medical attention”.
“Not only did each of you fail to do so during the days leading up to his death, but I am quite satisfied that in order to cover up for this failure, you concocted a story.
“You maliciously suggested that you had previously shown bruising to a local GP who had dismissed it as unimportant.”
He said the couple had deceived the police in interviews by appearing to want to help them.
“As a result of the stance which both of you took in the course of your interviews and during your evidence at trial, the identity of the perpetrator of these episodes of violence may never be known.
“You are to be punished for allowing his death to occur.”
He added that the couple were “both young and both of you showed elements of care to your son during his short life”, but was “satisfied that the level of culpability is substantial and the only sentence which can be justified for this offence is one of immediate custody”.
Parents found guilty of ‘causing or allowing the death’ of their baby son
A jury have found both parents guilty of causing or allowing the death of their baby son in Northampton.
Adam Kightley, aged 24, and Jacqueline Parker, aged 21, had been accused of murdering baby Jamie Kightley, who died at the couple’s home in London Road, Far Cotton on March 17 last year.
But on Friday, the jury at Nottingham Crown Court was directed to find the pair not guilty of murder, and instead consider the charge of causing or allowing the death of a child, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Woliter said: “Jamie Kightley died in March 2012, after paramedics were called to the family home in London Road, Northampton. “Jamie died after suffering a catalogue of more than 40 significant injuries which included fractures and bruises to his tiny body at the hands of his parents.
His Honour Mr Justice Jeremy Baker concluded his summing up of the case at the same court today, and the jury recorded a guilty verdict this afternoon.
Judge Baker said the only verdict he would accept in the case was a unanimous one.
Summing up the prosecution’s case, Judge Baker told the jury that seven-week-old Jamie’s injuries were consistent with him having been violently shaken to the point where it caused his death.
It was the prosecution’s case that either Kightley or Parker caused these injuries.
Medical evidence showed there was one other instance of violence against Jamie, which had taken place in the days leading up to his death.
Judge Baker told the jury to ignore their emotions when considering their verdict.
He said: “The death of anyone is sad, especially when the death is of such a young child who has died in these circumstances.
“Inevitably, one’s emotions are engaged. But these will obscure rather than clarify the truth.
“It is important for you to put any emotions to one side and be dispassionate.”
The prosecution’s case is that the parents of Jamie, who was found with a multitude of old and fresh injuries, must have known he had been mistreated.
A post-mortem examination found extensive bruising to Jamie’s head and bleeding within the protective layers around the brain.
The examination found a mixture of new and old bleeding, while examinations of the baby’s rib cage also found fresh fractures alongside older fractures.
The prosecution says each defendant was aware, or should have been aware, there was serious harm being caused to Jamie.
Both defendants have said they do not know how Jamie sustained the injuries.
Barristers representing the pair said they were loving and caring parents, and the health visitor who had met the pair at their flat on three occasions had no concern for Jamie’s welfare.
Both defendants sat impassively in the dock through proceedings, Kightley dressed in a suit and Parker in a low-cut top and patterned leggings. Neither acknowledged or spoke to the other at any point during proceedings.