Parents cleared over death of boy left disabled by brain injury

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TWO young parents who had been due to stand trial over the death of their toddler son have been formally acquitted after the case against them was dropped.

The Crown Prosecution Service yesterday confirmed it would offer no evidence against Caroline Kemp and Thomas Corcoran, who denied causing or allowing the death of two-year-old Corinthian.

The baby suffered a brain injury just days after he was born, leaving him severely disabled. He lost his fight for life two years later.

Kemp was just 17 when she gave birth to the boy at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on August 6, 2007, and he was immediately subject to a child protection order because of concerns about the couple’s parenting abilities.

Within days of his birth, he was admitted to a special care baby unit after concerns were raised that he was “floppy”.

An examination showed the previously healthy infant had bruising to his face and neck and a scan revealed intercranial bleeding.

Corinthian, who was left with cerebral palsy. blindness and epilepsy, was placed into foster care in Dewsbury, then Manchester.

He tragically died in the arms of his mother as she held him under supervision the day after his second birthday in 2009.

An inquest into his death heard he died from bilateral bronchopneumonia due to an infection which developed as a result of a head injury.

But Bradford Crown Court yesterday heard experts disagreed about whether his condition had been caused by an assault or natural causes.

Last October, Bradford Coroner’s Court was told an investigation had been launched after the bleeding was revealed by Corinthian’s scan.

When interviewed, Corcoran made no comment but Kemp admitted picking up the child “because he was choking” and banging his head accidentally on his cot.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided initially not to prosecute, but Greater Manchester Police reopened the case with West Yorkshire Police after Corinthian died and his parents, both now 22, were eventually charged with causing or allowing his death.

The complex charge alleged they either caused the boy’s death by an unlawful act or failed to take reasonable steps to protect him from a significant risk of serious physical harm.

Kemp, of Erringden Road, Mytholmroyd, and Corcoran, of Croft Gardens in Birkby, Huddersfield yesterday formally pleaded not guilty to the charge during an pre-trial hearing.

Prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC confirmed the Crown’s decision to offer no evidence against them and a formal verdict of not guilty was recorded.

He told Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC: “Having considered again the arguments put forward on behalf of both defendants the prosecution has taken the view that there is insufficient evidence to place this case before a jury.”

“In particular the evidence that there was at the relevant time a significant risk of serious physical harm being caused to Corinthian by the unlawful act of either defendant is found to be wanting.”

Kemp’s barrister Adrian Waterman QC stressed that experts involved in the case - including those consulted by the prosecution - disagreed about whether Corinthian’s tragic decline and ultimate death were caused by an assault or a rare, but not unheard of, spontaneous venous thrombosis.

“The defence do not accept and never have accepted that there was any assault,” he said.

Mr Waterman said Kemp was relieved the court case was over but added: “Of course, she continues to live with the sadness of the loss of Corinthian.’’