Tuesday, December 9, 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 babysitter accused of murdering the two-year-old boy in her care broke down in court as she told of the heavy price she paid for telling lies," the Evening Gazette story for December 10, 2008, begins.

"Giving evidence in her own defence yesterday, Suzanne Holdsworth said she loved Kyle Fisher, the toddler she denies killing in her home," the story continues.

"She admitted agreeing with the child’s mother Clare Fisher in hospital after he was taken ill not to reveal that the mum left Kyle home alone a few nights earlier.

“It was just we wouldn’t tell anybody that Kyle had been left on his own or anything like that,” she told a jury.

“We weren’t trying to hide nothing. Just Kyle was there laid ill, we didn’t know how ill he were. We just thought he’d had a fit.

“We didn’t want to tell her mam. I didn’t want her mam to have a go at her when Kyle was ill. It was something stupid and I admit I did it, and I’ve paid for it.”

Shortly after this, she began to cry in the witness box at Teesside Crown Court. Later, under cross examination, the mum-of-two said: “I lied, yes, and it was wrong and I shouldn’t have done.”

She sobbed as she went on: “I lost my children for three years because I made a lie. I missed my grandson being born because I lied.”

The Crown say she murdered the boy by banging his head against banisters at her home on Millpool Close, Hartlepool on July 21, 2004. He died in hospital two days later.

It is alleged that he must have suffered his fatal injuries while alone with her the night he was taken ill.

The jury was told that Holdsworth, 38, was tried and convicted in March 2005, and appealed in May this year.

The former supermarket worker, now of Boggart Hill Drive, Seacroft, Leeds, denies murder.

She agreed that a lie concealed the fact that she was alone with Kyle at her home the day before he collapsed. She denied concealing she had the opportunity to assault him.

That night, she said she came back from the shop to be told that Kyle had fallen out of bed. She noticed bruising on his head but Kyle seemed fine.

Prosecutor Andrew Robertson QC asked her: “You realised questions were going to be asked, didn’t you?”

She said it didn’t occur to her at the time that the police would be involved, just social services. “I didn’t want them at my door,” she said.

“That, Mrs Holdsworth, is a complete lie, because you knew that the finger of suspicion in those circumstances would immediately be pointed at you,” added Mr Robertson.

“No,” said Holdsworth. “That was nothing to do with me, Kyle just having a fit.”

She denied “dominating” Kyle’s mum, whom she said did not want her mother, who was away at the time, to know she had been out and left Kyle in someone else’s care.

She denied telling other lies to give the impression Kyle’s bruises were caused when she was out and “give Clare the opportunity... to be responsible” for the injuries.


Harold Levy...hlevy15@gmail.com;