Thursday, December 18, 2008



Babysitter Suzanne Holdsworth, who was previously found guilty of murdering her neighbour's two-year-old son by repeatedly banging the boy's head against a wooden banister, won an appeal against her conviction. She was 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 who provided fresh evidence on behalf of the defence at Holdsworth's second trial, was 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 Northumberland Gazette story appeared on December 18, 2008, under the heading "Father demands answers after babysitter cleared."

The story was sub-headed: "The Wearside father of a tragic toddler has demanded answers after his babysitter was cleared of murder."

"Jon Taylor, who is separated from Kyle Fisher's mother, supported Suzanne Holdsworth's family in their campaign to win a retrial for her," the story began.

"The 27-year-old DJ, from Houghton-le-Spring, said: "I backed them because we had to find out what was happening," it continued;

""Kyle was neglected, I believe. Kyle's mother left him in the house on his own. Something should be done about that. I am not happy about that at all."

During both of Ms Holdsworth's trials, the juries were told that Clare Fisher left her two-year-old at home alone while she went out drinking in Hartlepool one Saturday night in 2004.

The babysitter - a family friend - threatened to tell Ms Fisher's mother Linda when she returned from holiday, causing Ms Fisher great anxiety.

Days later Kyle collapsed while Ms Holdsworth was looking after him, and he died later in hospital.

Mr Taylor separated from Ms Fisher when Kyle was still a baby, and when he moved from Hartlepool to Houghton, he rarely got to see his son because he had no car, Mr Taylor said. He had not seen his son for about six months before he died.

"There are no winners today," he said. "I'm still the one without a son.

"All I want is the truth, and I haven't got that yet.""