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 MURDER trial jury has heard babysitter Suzanne Holdsworth described as a good mother and someone other people trusted to look after their children," the latest Northern Echo Story begins, under the heading, "Babysitter a good mother, court hears."

"Friends and former neighbours of the 38-year-old said she was "fair, but strict" with her two daughters, and she brought up the girls to be polite and never rude," the story continues;

"Fellow mothers Kathy Cassanelli and Victoria Simpson gave evidence for the defence on the seventh day of Ms Holdsworth's retrial at Teesside Crown Court.

They yesterday told the jury that their children often visited Ms Holdsworth's home on the Central Estate in Hartlepool and they never had any concerns.

Ms Holdsworth is accused of murdering neighbour Clare Fisher's two-year-old son, Kyle, in July 2004 by repeatedly banging his head against a wooden banister.

The prosecution alleges that the former shelf-stacker lost her temper with the toddler as she babysat for him while his teenage mother went out drinking with friends.

Ms Holdsworth claims Kyle suffered a fit after getting up off a sofa, and denies that she is responsible for the devastating head injuries which led to his death.

Ms Casseneli, who at the time lived next-door to Miss Fisher and opposite Ms Holdsworth's home, described the defendant as "straight-forward" and said: "You got what you expected."

Mrs Simpson said Ms Holdsworth often looked after her children, and when she was asked if she was happy for that to happen, she replied: "Yes, no problem."

She also told the jury of eight men and four women: "She had time for her children . . . she was really good."


Harold Levy...hlevy15@gmail.com;