Couple found guilty after eight-week-old baby dies with ‘unimaginable’ number of injuries

A couple have been found guilty of causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm after their baby died at just eight weeks old.

Naomi Johnson, 23, of Octavia Street, Battersea and Benjamin O’Shea, 26, of Dominion Drive, Rotherhithe were also found guilty of cruelty to a person under-16 in relation to a separate child following a four-week trial at Inner London Crown Court.

On the morning of 26 April, 2019 Johnson and O’Shea called 999 after their baby girl Amina stopped breathing. 

Paramedics arrived at the residence and began attempts to save the baby’s life.

Despite their best efforts, the child died at the scene. 

There were no observable injuries and the cause of her death was originally thought to be Sudden Unexplained Death in Infants.

But the post mortem skeletal X-rays showed Amina had over 60 fractured bones in her body, including 41 identified fractures to her ribs and 24 limb bone fractures.

Some of the fractures were relatively recent while others had begun to heal.

This suggested that over her eight-week life Amina had been subject to multiple episodes of abuse.

A special post-mortem was carried out, but no cause of death could be established.

A police investigation was launched on May 3, 2019 and Johnson and O’Shea were immediately arrested.

During the course of their police interviews both Johnson and O’Shea claimed that Amina’s death was the result of a visit to the GP and the fractures had been caused by the paramedics.

The police consulted medical experts who found that the baby’s ribs had been fractured on at least two occasions and her limbs had been fractured on at least seven occasions.

They also found that the injuries could not have been caused accidentally.

Evidence was also found of bleeding in the brain.

On September 11, 2019 O’Shea and Johnson were re- arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.

In later police interviews, the pair both denied injuring the child.

In relation to the second child, who was known to the pair, detectives found texts between the pair where they both admit to slapping the child and treating the child poorly. 

Johnson said she had slapped the child three times and then only given the child water until dinner. 

O’Shea in another text to Johnson discussed his difficulty at keeping calm after the child knocked over a drink in a fast food restaurant.

Detective Inspector Melanie Pressley, who led the investigation said: “This is a truly heart-breaking case that has touched all of us who have worked on bringing Johnson and O’Shea before the court for their monstrous crimes. 

“In eight weeks of life Amina suffered an unimaginable number of injuries. 

“The trauma she endured in her short life is impossible to comprehend, her injuries are a catalogue of the most despicable abuse. 

“Equally incomprehensible is how an adult can inflict such cruelty on defenceless, innocent children.

“Throughout our investigation we have been unable to establish how the baby died and Johnson and O’Shea have been steadfast in their refusal to answer our questions. 

“They have sought to protect themselves in a way they clearly did not for the two children in this case.”

Detective Constable Caroline Baker, part of the investigation team, said: “It is difficult to speak of justice in a case like this, however I hope that today’s verdict is a clear message that these children mattered and the abuse they suffered will be punished.”

They will be sentenced on Friday, December 17 at the Inner London Crown Court.

 


 

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