Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Doncaster baby shaking death: James Larkin guilty of manslaughter

James Larkin Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption James Larkin violently shook baby Christopher causing him "unsurvivable" brain damage

A man who "violently" shook an 11-and-a-half week old baby has been found guilty of his manslaughter.

James Larkin, 26, of Crawshaw Road, Doncaster, shook Christopher at their home on 16 September 2014. The baby died in hospital the next day.

At Sheffield Crown Court, Larkin was also found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Christopher's mother Laura Ostle, 21, of Broadway, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Christopher suffered "unsurvivable" brain injury when he was "shaken so violently".

'Aggressive and abusive'

Senior Crown Prosecutor Julian Briggs said: "This was an absolutely tragic case.

"Baby Christopher was born into the care of two deeply inadequate individuals. His mother's aggressive and abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Larkin, who was not the child's father, led him to snap."

Mr Briggs said Larkin and Ostle had both lied in an effort to cover up the truth and "were thinking only of saving themselves".

He said: "They were not thinking of the best interests of the tiny newborn. Unbelievably, Laura Ostle even texted Larkin from the ambulance taking the dying child to hospital in order to align their accounts.

"Nothing will ever be the same for Christopher's wider family. I hope that these verdicts are of some comfort to them in their grief."

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.

The pair are due to be sentenced on Monday.

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