Wednesday, December 3, 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;


"TWO experts giving evidence in the trial of a babysitter accused of murdering a toddler believe the child collapsed no more than 15 minutes after suffering severe head trauma," the latest story, by reporter Karen Westcott, dated December 4, 2008, begins.

"Professor Christopher Milroy, who until August this year was chief forensic pathologist with the Forensic Science Service, and Dr Christopher Rittey, who is a consultant paediatric neurologist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, both said they believed two-year-old Kyle Fisher had been subjected to a head injury in the moments before he fell unconscious," the story, under the heading "Babysitter trial told of toddler's injuries, continues;

"Kyle’s babysitter, Suzanne Holdsworth, is standing trial for the second time accused of murdering the two-year-old while she looked after him in July 2004 at her Hartlepool home.

Dr Rittey said: “My opinion is that Kyle sustained a significant head injury on the evening of the Wednesday, which resulted in some bruising to his head, a subdural haemorrhage (bleeding) and cerebral oedema (swelling), and subsequent death.

“The sequence of events, I believe, was very compelling.”

However, at Teesside Crown Court yesterday, Dr Rittey also agreed that three preexisting brain abnormalities suffered by Kyle may have left him predisposed to suffer epileptic fits.

The defence claims that Kyle may have suffered a head injury the day before, which left bruises on the sides of his head, which could have led to the bleed in his skull, triggering the fatal fit the following day, while he was in Ms Holdsworth’s care.

Dr Rittey accepted that that could have been the case.

Andrew Robertson QC, prosecuting, has accused the 38-year-old mother-of-two of repeatedly ramming Kyle’s head into the banister at her home in Millpool Close, on the Central Estate, during a fit of rage.

She was looking after him from 10.20pm while his mother Clare Fisher, now 24, went to the cinema. By 11.35pm, he was unconscious.

The toddler was taken to hospital and died two days later. He had suffered a bleed in the outer membrane of his skull and had endured massive brain swelling.

Ms Holdsworth told police that Kyle was eating, drinking and talking before collapsing, but Prof Milroy and Dr Rittey said Kyle would only have remained lucid for about 15 minutes after suffering a major head injury.

They said he could not have sustained such a head trauma earlier in the day and remained conscious.

The court heard there was also curved and linear shaped bruising to both sides of his head, along with a bruise to the back of his head.

And the prosecution claimed that bruises on his shoulders and underneath his jaw were caused by Ms Holdsworth gripping him.

However, defence barrister Andrew Thomas QC claimed that bruises to Kyle’s shoulders were old, as were the bruises on the side of his head;"