August 2017

Mother and boyfriend found guilty of allowing death of five-month-old baby

A five-month-old baby who was found with cocaine and amphetamine in his system died at the hands of his mother and boyfriend.

Katherine Cox, 33, and Danny Shepherd, 25, were arrested following the death of Eli Cox in hospital on Wednesday, April 27 2016.

The child had fallen ill a fortnight earlier at the family home in Lapwing Close, Minster.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had suffered a catastrophic brain injury consistent with being shaken and hitting his head, in addition to at least 28 bone fractures believed to have been sustained over a 10-week period.

Traces of cocaine and amphetamine were also present in Eli’s system.

Both of the accused denied any involvement in the baby’s death but were convicted following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

The jury heard how an ambulance was called to Lapwing Close at about 5.30pm on Wednesday April 13 2016 when Eli stopped breathing.

He was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital where a paediatrician noticed a number of bruises that were not believed to have been accidental.

Kent Police was notified and an investigation was launched by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

They obtained evidence from medical experts that Eli’s brain injury in particular must have happened immediately before his collapse.

They also found that the bone fractures would have been suffered during at least five separate incidents beginning in late February 2016, and that it would have been obvious to the offenders that Eli was in pain.

Both Cox and Shepherd denied being users of cocaine and amphetamine, despite five wraps of the latter substance being found by police in a garden shed at their home.