Monday, December 1, 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;


The Northern Echo's report on the first day of the Holdsworth retrial ran on December1, 2008, under the heading, "Retrial starts of babysitter accused of murder."

"The trial of a woman accused of murdering a two-year old by banging his head on a banister has begun today," the story began.

"38-year-old Suzanne Holdsworth is accused of killing the toddler whilst babysitting him at her home," it continued.

"Prosecutor Andrew Robertson QC told Teesside Crown Court that the injuries two year-old Kyle Fisher had were not caused by an accident.

He said: “At 11.34 pm, Suzanne Holdsworth dialled 999 for an ambulance, when the paramedics arrived at 11.43 they found Kyle lying on the settee.

“He was totally unresponsive. His pupils were fixed and dilated. In other words he was dying.

“Subsequent investigations showed he had suffered severe and irreparable brain damage.

“The Crown’s case is that between 10.20pm when the child’s mother left him with Suzanne Holdsworth and 11.34 when she telephoned for an ambulance, this defendant assaulted and inflicted serious injuries on Kyle from which he died.”

The jury was told how Kyle’s mother Claire Fisher had struck up a friendship with Ms Holdsworth as they lived opposite each other.

The Prosecution said: “They became friendly and this defendant would look after Kyle from time to time when Claire wanted to go out.

“Claire Fisher found her very strict with Kyle but was prepared to leave him in her care.”

The court was also told that on the weekend before Kyle died his mother Claire stayed at her mother and stepfather's house at 26, Somersby Close, Hartlepool as they were away on holiday.

It was at this address Ms Fisher left Kyle alone unattended in bed.

Mr Robertson QC said: “Claire Fisher did something that you may regard as both stupid and irresponsible.”

The jury heard how on Tuesday 20th July 2004 Claire went across to the defendant's home with Kyle to talk about going swimming.

However, instead it was decided that Claire and one of Ms Holdsworth's daughters should go to the cinema while the defendant looked after Kyle at her home of 3, Millpool Close, Hartlepool.

Mr Robertson QC said:” It is now apparent that that evening Kyle received some bruising to his head.

“However, I make it clear that the assault we allege against Suzanne Holdsworth on Kyle Fisher on Tuesday night was not responsible for his death.

“Our case is that his death was caused by Suzanne Holdsworth following night 21st July 2004, when she subjected him to a much more serious assault, no doubt having lost her temper with him that night to a much greater extent.”

Ms Holdsworth denies murder and the trial continues;"