November 2016

Man found guilty of shaking baby to death


A man who shook his girlfriend’s baby to death ‘after finding out it wasn’t his’ has been found guilty of manslaughter.

James Larkin left 11 week-old Christopher with a fatal brain injury after he lost his temper.

The 26-year-old, from Doncaster, is believed to have found a letter penned to the baby’s real father around the time of the attack, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

After the attack, Larkin and the baby’s mother, Laura Ostle, 21, were heard in the back of a police car ‘getting their story straight’, and Ostle even texted Larkin from the ambulance.

Dafydd Enoch, prosecuting, told the jury: ‘He did not die instantly but in hospital just over a day later as a result of the injuries.’

Laura Ostle, from Doncaster, at Sheffield Crown Court who has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in connection with the death of her three month old baby Christopher. (file pic) See Ross Parry story RPYSHAKE; A man "snapped" and shook his partnerís baby to death because she ìtreated him like a lap dogî, a court heard. James Larkin, 26, suffered a "loss of temper" and shook 11-week-old Christopher Larkin - leaving him with an "unsurvivable brain injury", a jury was told. The court heard that Larkin and Christopher's mother Laura Ostle, 21, had a "relationship on the edge" and Larkin may well have only just discovered that Christopher was not his son before the baby was shaken. The court also heard that the couple were heard in the back of a police car ìgetting their story straight", the prosecutor said.

But Larkin said he thought the baby was unwell and ‘shook him in a panic to try to revive him’.

Paramedics found the baby in cardiac arrest on September 16, 2014 – he died two days later.

A serious case review into the death by the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board found there were “missed opportunities” to intervene.

The report said there was a “lack of curiosity by professionals” in what was happening within the family and that information was not shared and there was “no evidence found of joint visits or working” between the various agencies involved.

Police found a letter on the sofa drafted to the mum of Christopher’s real father, but Ostle claimed her boyfriend already knew about the letter and helped her write it. Larkin was found guilty of manslaughter.

The couple were also found guilty of perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

After the verdict, Senior Crown Prosecutor Julian Briggs said: ‘This was an absolutely tragic case – baby Christopher was born into the care of two deeply inadequate individuals.’

The pair are due to be sentenced on Monday.