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 providing 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;


Suzanne Holdsworth, the babysitter who spent three years behind bars for the murder of toddler Kyle Fisher who died in august, 2004, has been found not guilty of the crime at her retrial.

"Suzanne Holdsworth's unanimous acquittal by the jury at Teesside Crown Court marks the end of a long campaign to clear her name," the Sky New story begins.

"Ms Holdsworth, 38, of Boggart Hill Drive, Seacroft, Leeds, collapsed in tears in the dock in tears upon hearing the verdict, which also cleared her of an alternative charge of manslaughter" the story continues;

"The mother-of-two had been originally convicted of the murder of her neighbour's two-year-old son in March 2005 and jailed for life.

But the ruling was overturned at the Court of Appeal in May after doubts were raised about medical evidence presented in the original trial.

During the re-trial the jury was given the stark choice of deciding whether Ms Holdsworth or Kyle's mother, Clare Fisher, 24, caused the severe head injuries.

During Ms Holdsworth's original trial she was accused of repeatedly banging Kyle's head against a wooden bannister with as much force as a 60mph crash, after losing her temper.

The court heard that the youngster had bruising and marks to his head but Ms Holdsworth's defence maintained they were inflicted the previous day - blaming Kyle's mother - and coupled with brain abnormalities, led to the unexpected fit.

Fresh evidence established there was a reasonable possibility the toddler suffered a prolonged epileptic seizure.

Neuro-pathologist Dr Wainey Squier told the jury that her opinion was that a seizure was "far more likely".

When she rang 999, Ms Holdsworth said Kyle was "floppy, hitting himself and drifting in and out of consciousness".

Medics said the description matched such a fit and was far too sophisticated for a member of the public to invent.

Members of Kyle's family, including his grandmother, burst into tears at news of the verdict.

They had supported Ms Holdsworth's claims of innocence since the original trial.

Cleveland Police said they would not be reopening the investigation into Kyle's death."