Tuesday, December 2, 2008



Babysitter Suzanne Holdsworth, who has previously found guilty of murdering her neighbour's two-year-old son by repeatedly banging the boy's head against a wooden banister, has won an appeal against her conviction. She has been granted bail after Court of Appeal Judges declared her conviction for the murder of a toddler "unsafe" in the light of new medical evidence.

Acting for Suzanne, Henry Blaxland QC of Garden Court's Crime team argued that new evidence showed she was the victim of a miscarriage of justice over the death of the two-year old boy. The Court of Appeal was told that they child had abnormalities which predisposed him to epilepsy.

Henry Blaxland QC said that the doctors who gave evidence at trial "got it wrong" and "collectively failed to diagnose" that the Kyle had a "highly unusual brain", which indicated three abnormalities, two of which predisposed him to epilepsy."

Henry Blaxland QC also stated that the prosecution's case at trial 'was based on expert medical opinion evidence to the effect that the child died from fatal brain swelling or oedema which was caused by a blow or blows of significant force.'

A jury was told in 2005 that the mum-of-two smashed the toddler’s head against a bannister with the force of “a car crash at 60mph," Yet Kyles's skull was unbroken and there was no evidence of hair, blood or tissue on the wood.

One of the experts providing fresh evidence on behalf of the defence is forensic pathologist Dr. Christopher Millroy who participated in the Ontario Chief Coroner's Review of suspicious death of infant's cases involving Dr. Charles Smith and later testified at the recently concluded Goudge Inquiry;



A more detailed story on the beginning of the Holdsworth trial ran today under the heading, "Murder retrial hears of babysitter’s temper."

"A woman has gone on trial for the second time accused of murdering a toddler she was looking after for a neighbour," the story by crime correspondent Neil Hunter began.

"Suzanne Holdsworth is alleged to have repeatedly banged Kyle Fisher’s head against a wooden banister at her home," the story continued.

"It was said at the start of her retrial that babysitter Mrs Holdsworth has a short fuse and lost her temper with the two-year-old.

Kyle died in hospital on July 23, 2004 – two days after she was said to have inflicted the fatal brain injuries.

It is alleged that marks on Kyle’s head matched the distinctive pattern on the banisters at Mrs Holdsworth’s home in Hartlepool.

The prosecution says injuries were also caused to Kyle in the three hours he was left with Mrs Holdsworth the previous night.

Kyle’s mother, Claire, had left him home alone on the previous Saturday when she had a night out, a court heard yesterday.

The jury at Teesside Crown Court was told that Mrs Holdsworth threatened to tell Miss Fisher’s mother about him being left alone.

When the injuries to Kyle were noticed, it is said Mrs Holdsworth convinced Miss Fisher to go along with a story she had concocted.

Andrew Robertson, QC, prosecuting, said Miss Fisher did not realise the made-up stories protected Mrs Holdsworth.

She is alleged to have told Miss Fisher at the hospital: “Do you realise we will be investigated?...

you’ll get investigated about Saturday, so we are going to have to come up with a story.”

Mr Robertson told the jury: “The sole purpose of those lies could only have been to protect her and hide the fact that she must have been responsible for the Tuesday night injury.”

Mrs Holdsworth, 38, lived in Millpool Close at the time of Kyle’s death, opposite Miss Fisher in Troutpool Close, on the Central Estate.

The prosecution case is that Kyle died from a fatal brain swelling caused by a blow or blows of significant force.

The jury was told that Mrs Holdsworth had been strict with Kyle when she looked after him.

Giving evidence yesterday, Miss Fisher said she had seen her son forced by her thenfriend to sit with his back to the room when he had been naughty.

Recalling the night of Kyle’s fatal injury, Miss Fisher said she was contacted while on a night out and rushed to hospital to find Mrs Holdsworth in a family room.

She said she asked Mrs Holdsworth what had happened and was told he got to his feet after watching television, “went a bit funny and fell into a fit”.

Mrs Holdsworth denies murder. The trial, expected to last three weeks, continues."

Harold Levy...hlevy15@gmail.com;