April 2017

Parents of baby boy who drowned in bath found guilty of manslaughter

The parents of a 13-month-old boy who drowned in a bath have been found guilty of manslaughter.

Lisa Passey, 28, and former partner Wayne Dale, 45, left 13-month-old Kian Dale and a two-year-old child alone while the couple entertained a friend at their home in Tenbury Wells on September 26, 2015.

The pair were also found guilty of child cruelty with wilful neglect following a two-week trial at Worcester Crown Court.

The court heard how the children were left unsupervised for at least 13 minutes.

Passey initially claimed she had not run a bath, but twice changed her account

Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said Kian had drowned as his parents entertained friends and burned a UB40 music CD.

Passey was downstairs with a friend drinking coffee, while Dale was ‘socialising, listening to music’ and using his computer, the court heard.

Mr Hankin told the court: ‘When, finally, Wayne Dale went upstairs to the bathroom, baby Kian had drowned.

‘He was found lying over the back of the bath seat with his head and upper body immersed.’

After Kian was found lifeless in the water, Passey dialled 999 telling the operator her baby had ‘drowned in the bath’.

The court heard Dale told police officers he ‘had a beer, rolled a cigarette outside and burned a CD’ and that he had only left his son for ‘a couple of minutes’

A post-mortem examination found the child’s death was consistent with drowning, including what was believed to be soap bubbles in his lungs.

The couple have since separated and sat apart in the dock without speaking to one another.

Judge Robert Juckes, QC, told them he had considered remanding them straight into custody but had decided to grant them bail for pre-sentence reports to be prepared.

Passey, from Tenbury Wells, and Dale, will be sentenced on April 25

The court heard that Dale, a father of seven, had 14 previous convictions for 38 offences dating back to 1989 and had previously been jailed for burglary.

Rachel Brand, QC, for Passey said she was only allowed to see her other two children under supervision and “would be grateful for the opportunity to tell them she might not be able to see them for a while.”

Passey was said to have cautions but no previous convictions or experience of custody. Following a flood at the house in Kyreside, she has now made temporary arrangements for accommodation.