Leicester

Foster mum Wendy Hardy jailed for death of toddler 'by shaking'

Wendy Hardy Image copyright Leicester Mercury
Image caption Wendy Hardy was jailed for manslaughter and fraud at Birmingham Crown Court

A foster mother has been jailed for killing a 23-month-old toddler in her care by shaking him.

Harry Aspley died in hospital six days after becoming unwell at his home in Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire, in March, 2013.

Police said he had suffered a "non-accidental" head injury "consistent with being shaken".

Wendy Hardy was jailed for six-and-a-half years on Tuesday after admitting manslaughter and fraud.

Birmingham Crown Court heard Hardy, 46, had wrongfully claimed £27,460 for fostering two children from November 2012 to September 2013 who were not actually in her care at the time.

Image copyright Leicester Mercury
Image caption Hardy and her former partner were both sentenced for claiming cash for taking care of foster children who were not in their care

Her former partner David Hardy, 36, of Hinckley Road, Stoney Stanton, was handed a 21-month suspended sentence for his part in the fraudulent claim.

Det Supt Neil Castle, of Leicestershire Police, said that when the toddler suffered his injuries he was being looked after "solely by Wendy Hardy", of Greedon Rise, Sileby, Leicestershire.

"This was a difficult and lengthy inquiry which followed the tragic death of a young child who had been entrusted in the care of foster parents," he said.

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"While the full events of what happened that day have not been disclosed by Wendy, I hope that her guilty plea and subsequent sentencing will bring some closure for Harry's wider family network and all those involved in the case."

A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson said: "We are deeply saddened by the death of this little boy and have worked closely with Leicestershire Police to support this prosecution.

"Warwickshire Safeguarding Children Board is carrying out a Serious Case Review into the child's death ... (so we) are unable to comment further on the details at this stage."

The council said it was involved in the case because Hardy was originally a Warwickshire foster carer who was living in Leicestershire.

Charges of child cruelty against the pair - which involved neglect between December 2012 and March 2013 - will "lie on file", a police spokesman said.

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