Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Doncaster pair jailed over baby shaking death

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

A man who "violently" shook a three-month-old baby who later died has been given a 12-year jail sentence.

James Larkin, 26, of Crawshaw Road, Doncaster, shook Christopher, his partner's baby, on 16 September 2014. He died in hospital the following day.

Larkin was found guilty of manslaughter at Sheffield Crown Court.

Both Larkin and Christopher's mother Laura Ostle, 21, of Broadway, Doncaster, were found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

More on this and other stories in South Yorkshire

Ostle was handed an 18-month jail sentence.

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

Mrs Justice Andrews, sentencing, said Larkin's action was "not the action of man gripped by panic, endeavouring to save a life, but the action of man who had been driven by anger, frustration, exasperation, or combination of all three, to completely lose his self control".

Evidence heard during the case had portrayed him as "kind, loving and caring" towards the boy, she said.

Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Laura Ostle, baby Christopher's mother, was also jailed

Mrs Justice Andrews said the most "extraordinary feature" of the case was how Larkin was treated like a "doormat" by Ostle.

She said Larkin did most of the childcare, suffered a black eye at Ostle's hands and tolerated her relationships with other men.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Julian Briggs called it an "absolutely tragic case", with Larkin and Ostle "thinking only of saving themselves".

He said: "Unbelievably, Laura Ostle even texted Larkin from the ambulance taking the dying child to hospital in order to align their accounts."

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 information was not shared.

Also it found there was "no evidence found of joint visits or working" between the various agencies involved.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

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