Wednesday, December 17, 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;


"Andrew Thomas, defending murder accused Suzanne Holdsworth, told the Teesside Crown Court jury yesterday that the Crown Prosecution Service had only ever been given his client as a possible suspect," the latest Northern Echo story, dated Wednesday 17 December, 2008, begins, under the heading, "Police accused of a 'selective' investigation.

"The 38-year-old mother-of-two denies murdering Kyle Fisher while babysitting him at her then home in Millpool Close, Hartlepool, in July, 2004. She maintains he suffered a seizure," the story, by reporter Karen Westcott, continues.

"However, she is accused of repeatedly ramming his head into the banister in a rage while looking after him for just over an hour, causing fatal brain swelling.

The prosecution has argued that Kyle would have collapsed no more than 15 minutes after suffering the head trauma – meaning Miss Holdsworth was the only possible suspect.

Andrew Robertson, prosecuting, said the curved and linear bruising on the toddler’s head matched the banister.

But during his final speech to the jury yesterday, Mr Thomas said he believed the bruising to Kyle’s head was not caused on the night he collapsed, but possibly the day before.

He reminded the jury that Kyle’s mother, Clare Fisher, of nearby Troutpool, Hartlepool, had noticed bruising on her son’s head during the morning of the day he collapsed. He said that as a teenage, single mother, she was unable to cope, suffered depression and was known to “mistreat” Kyle. He said she was the one with motive, adding that older, unexplained bruises on Kyle’s body meant she was the only “credible candidate” for causing the fatal injuries.

He said: “It was a selective, flawed investigation, which caused the prosecution to fix on a selective view of the facts to maintain the case against Suzanne Holdsworth. Suzanne Holdsworth was innocent and did nothing more than get involved because she cared.”

The court has accepted the toddler suffered three serious brain abnormalities, two of which left him pre-disposed to suffer from epileptic fits.

The defence has argued that Kyle suffered a serious head injury, possibly the day before he collapsed, which may have caused a slow bleed on his brain.

That, Mr Thomas claimed, could have triggered a massive epileptic fit, leading to brain swelling. Or, he said, the toddler could have simply had a second minor bang that night, which could have triggered the brain swelling.

He said: “Tragically, the two problems that Kyle had came together.”

The prosecution accused the defence of grasping at straws."