Kettering murder trial: Baby’s injuries ‘most severe doctor had seen’

A series of injuries suffered by a Kettering toddler were among the most severe a doctor had ever seen, a murder trial heard.

Monday, 14th January 2019, 5:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 4:07 pm

Ryan Coleman, 23, is accused of murdering his partner’s one-year-old daughter at their Kettering home last year.

On the first day of the trial at Birmingham Crown Court today (Monday), prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC outlined the pattern of ‘disturbing’ injuries she suffered.

Birmingham Crown Court.

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They included: multiple sites of bleeding in areas of the brain and spinal canal, tears and bruising in the brain substance, damage to nerve fibres in the brain, bleeding in both eyes, tissue damage and multiple bruises, including on both sides of the face consistent with forceful gripping or slapping.

Coleman’s defence is that the victim suffered the injuries when she fell off her toddler bed, which was 36cm from the carpeted floor, while he was folding clothes.

He also says she may have suffered injuries in resuscitation attempts by her mother and paramedics.

Opening the case, Mr Hankin told the court how a number of health professionals and experts described the victim’s injuries.

He said the injuries, which jurors were shown photographs of, suggested a high energy trauma akin to a car seat becoming detached in a car crash.

One doctor said the injuries were ‘devastating’ and another said they were ‘entirely in keeping with a severe episode of abusive head trauma’.

Another said they were “one of the most severe he has ever reported”.

He added: “It is inconceivable to me that such injuries would occur from such a low-level fall.”

Summing up the experts’ views, Mr Hankin said: “They are of one voice.

“That voice is that the history given by the defendant of a minor fall does not in any way explain the degree or type of injuries the victim sustained.”

Mr Hankin will complete his opening statement tomorrow morning before the first witnesses are called.