Birmingham & Black Country

Levi-Blu Cassin: Parents jailed over toddler's death

Levi Blu Cassin Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Levi-Blu Cassin was found at the flat his parents shared in Chelmsley Wood in 2013

A "selfish and manipulative" couple who both denied delivering the fatal blow that killed their toddler son have each been jailed for nine years.

Levi-Blu Cassin suffered "catastrophic" internal injuries at his West Midlands home in February 2013.

Parents Danielle Cassin and Mark Piper were convicted of causing or allowing his death - but cleared of murder.

Levi-Blu's grandmother Angela Cassin said: "Nine years for a baby's life - that's absolutely disgusting."

Judge Mr Justice Goss, sentencing, told the pair they were "selfish, neglectful and manipulative".

Stomach 'split'

Cassin, 27, of Frensham Close, Chelmsley Wood, and Piper, 31, of no fixed abode, were on Friday found guilty of causing or allowing the death of their son.

They were cleared of his murder and manslaughter at Birmingham Crown Court.

Both gave differing accounts of what happened in the hours leading up to Levi-Blu's death and effectively blamed each other for his injuries.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Mark Piper and Danielle Cassin had denied responsibility for Levi-Blu's death
Image caption Levi-Blu's grandmother Angela Cassin called the sentence "absolutely disgusting"

The court was told that post-mortem examinations revealed the toddler's duodenum - where the small intestine meets the stomach - was split in two.

He was was found at the flat his parents shared in Nightingale Avenue, Chelmsley Wood on 20 February 2013.

Sentencing Cassin, Judge Goss told her she "repeatedly lied to, or deceived" those seeking to protect her son.

He said: "You concealed the violence in your relationship and you chose to permit Levi to be exposed to all the attendant risks."

Her failure to address her drug habit meant she put her own "selfish interests above all else", he added.

'Stamped or kicked'

Sentencing Piper, the judge said: "There is no indication you had your son's interests at heart."

He was a father more interested in playing on his Playstation than in caring for his son.

During their trial, evidence was also presented that showed Levi-Blu sustained less serious injuries two or three weeks before his death.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption A day before Levi-Blu died Cassin left him alone with Piper while she went to a shop to trade goods for cash

However, medical experts told the jury it was likely the toddler suffered the fatal injury about 12 hours before his death.

Jurors were told Ms Cassin took heroin and crack cocaine and had wanted to go out "on a session to get drugs" the night her son died.

Mr Piper was described in court as a man "with a propensity to attack children", with one ex-girlfriend saying he had been violent towards her and her son.

Judge Goss said Levi-Blu was "stamped on or kicked" with "very significant force required" to inflict the injuries that killed him.

"Levi would have been in pain, very upset and distressed," he said.

His family must "live with the anguish of not knowing what happened to him".

Solihull Local Safeguarding Children Board has confirmed a serious case review is being carried out and is expected to be published in the spring.

Speaking outside court, Levi's grandmother, Angela Cassin, said: "Nine years for a baby's life - that's absolutely disgusting.

"It's not justice - we don't even know what happened to him."

His aunt, Kirstie Cassin, added: "I don't want people to even think about [those] two.

"Levi was the most special little boy - all he brought us was joy and all he suffered was heartache and pain, and nobody is paying."

Inspector Bob Sutton, from West Midlands Police, said: "Throughout the investigation and trial [Levi's parents] have continued to conceal the truth.

"As parents they were in a unique position of trust and care - they did not meet their responsibilities."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites