Tuesday, December 16, 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;


"SUZANNE Holdsworth was either the manipulative killer of a Teesside toddler or a caring good Samaritan wrongly accused, a murder trial jury heard," the Evening Gazette story dated December 16, 2008 begins, under the heading "Lawyers sum up case in Holdsworth trial."

"Jurors were told they had to consider who assaulted two-year-old Kyle Fisher – his babysitter Holdsworth, 38, or his mother Clare Fisher, 24," the story continues;

"QCs began making their final speeches to Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

Prosecutor Andrew Robertson said: “The reality in our submission can only be this: that Miss Holdsworth caused the injuries that you’ve seen to that child while he was in her sole care.

“However you look at it, those injuries led to Kyle’s death, and tragic though it is, both for Kyle and for Miss Holdsworth, she sadly was responsible for his unlawful death.

“Immediately regretted, immediately panicking, probably as a result of a momentary loss of temper, a short-lived intention to cause serious harm on the spur of the moment.

“That, we submit, is the only possible inference from the facts in this case.”

Defence barrister Andrew Thomas told the jury: “The awful prospect in this case is the Good Samaritan who was prepared to get involved and to help and who happened to be there when Kyle eventually collapsed is the person who is blamed for his tragic death.

“There is clear evidence, you may think, that Kyle was mistreated by his mother and that he suffered injuries at her hands.

“Because of those injuries Kyle collapsed on the night of July 21 (2004), not because he had been assaulted there and then, but because tragically he was a very vulnerable child with conditions, most of which had never been diagnosed, that meant because of an earlier injury he collapsed that night.

“You may think that when you look at the powerful evidence, it is Clare Fisher who is the credible candidate for having attacked Kyle.”

Kyle Fisher died from brain swelling two days after he collapsed at Holdsworth’s home on Millpool Close, Hartlepool.

Mr Robertson said Kyle was assaulted causing extensive bruising to his scalp, with up to 11 impacts requiring significant force, leading to the fatal brain swelling.

Holdsworth, now of Boggart Hill Drive, Seacroft, Leeds, denies murder.


Harold Levy...hlevy15@gmail.com;