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Man sentenced to life for murdering 11-week-old baby

5 Feb 2021

A man who murdered an 11-week-old baby boy, leaving him with a catalogue of injuries including a fractured skull and bleed to the brain, has been jailed for life.

Kane Mitchell, 31, of no fixed address but formerly of St Neots, inflicted multiple injuries on Teddie Mitchell at his home in St Neots, which led to his death in hospital on 11 November, 2019.

Mitchell was found guilty of murder last month following a four-week trial and was sentenced today (5 February) at Cambridge Crown Court to life in prison with a minimum tariff of 18 years, minus the time served on remand. 

Mitchell was ordered to serve a further five years concurrent for allowing / causing serious harm to a child.

Teddie’s mother, Lucci Smith, 30, of Pattison Court, St Neots, who was found guilty of neglect, was given a two-year community order. 

Both have been barred from activities with children. 

Cambridge Crown Court heard Teddie had suffered weeks of neglect and rough handling during his short life.

Mitchell and Smith had been in a relationship for about eight months and had lived together with baby Teddie.

At 3pm on 1 November, 2019, the ambulance service was called to Pattison Court, St Neots, where Teddie was found to be unresponsive and in cardiac arrest.

Smith had left Teddie in the care of Mitchell while she did the morning school run. When she returned, she noticed he seemed lethargic and wouldn’t take his bottle.

She later contacted a GP after Teddie’s condition deteriorated. They advised her to call 999 but she waited about half an hour before calling them.

Teddie was rushed to the Special Care Baby Unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, where doctors discovered he had a fractured skull and a significant bleed on the brain.

Officers and medical staff were concerned about how Teddie received his injuries and Mitchell and Smith were both arrested at the hospital. Teddie was later transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for a specialist neurology assessment and placed in intensive care on life support, where doctors concluded he would not recover.

Medical staff kept Teddie stable on a life support machine, however, after 11 days, a decision was made to withdraw the life support and Teddie passed away shortly after. A post mortem revealed he died as a result of his fractured skull and lack of oxygen to the brain.

During the trial, the jury were read statements from neighbours who said they had heard arguments coming from the address on a regular basis and that the household had been unsettled since Mitchell moved in.

In police interview, Mitchell said he believed he was Teddie’s biological father. However, DNA results following the death revealed he was not. He could not explain how Teddie came to suffer his fatal injuries.

In police interview, Smith claimed she and Mitchell were in a loving relationship and they rarely argued. She also couldn’t explain how Teddie came to have his fatal injuries.

The jury deliberated for two days following the four-week trial before reaching a verdict.

Detective Inspector Lucy Thomson, from the Beds Cambs and Herts Major Crime Unit, said: “This is a tragic and terrible case in which an 11-week-old baby lost his life at the hands of a person who should have been there to protect him.

“Our investigation found that Teddie had suffered multiple injuries during his short life which neither Mitchell or Smith could account for.

“The conclusion of this case won’t bring Teddie back, but it does bring some justice for what he endured."

In sentencing, Judge Robin Knowles commended officers for their diligent and professional investigation.

For information and advice about child abuse, visit the force website: www.cambs.police.uk/childprotection.

Anyone who has concerns about child abuse should contact police on 101 (or report online at www.cambs.police.uk/report), children’s social care or the NSPCC. If a child is in immediate danger always call 999.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “This is a deeply disturbing case, in which a baby was murdered by a man, who had taken on the role of his parent and so should have been the very one protecting and nurturing him.

“Tragic cases like this, underline the vulnerability of babies who are completely dependent on their parents and carers for their welfare.

“It’s so important that people come forward and report child abuse whenever there’s worry. Please call the NSPCC helpline confidentially on 0808 800 5000.”

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