A couple have been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison after their eight-week-old baby died with over 60 broken bones.
Ex-army reservist Benjamin O’Shea, 26, from Southwark, London, was jailed for eight-and-a-half-years for causing or allowing baby girl Amina-Faye to suffer serious physical harm.
Naomi Johnson, 24, of Battersea, London, was sentenced to seven years for this offence.
The pair were detained by police after the sudden passing of their daughter in April, 2019.
A radiological exam found that the tot had died with 41 fractures to her ribs and 24 fractures to her limbs, according to the Mirror.
When she died, Amina had 41 fractures to her ribs and 24 fractures to her limbs.
During police interviews, the couple blamed paramedic’s for the fractures suffered by their baby, but were found guilty of causing or allowing her to suffer serious physical harm by a jury.
Judge Nigel Peters QC, sentencing at Inner London Crown Court, said that “sadly” this is “yet another harrowing case of parents abusing or being cruel to their child”, adding that “there is no doubt that this is a case of the highest seriousness in terms of cruelty to children in terms of the injuries”.
Medics could not establish a cause of death of “this poor child” and it is not possible to lay blame on which parent caused the fatal injuries and who stood back and allowed it to happen, the court heard.
The judge added that “it is remarkable in this case” that there were no signs of any fractures but the medical experts had found that the injuries were non-accidental and force needed to be applied.
Both of them were also each given two months, to be served consecutively, after being found guilty of cruelty to a person under-16 in relation to a separate child.
Radiologists found the multiple fractures were highly indicative that Amina had suffered continued physical abuse.
On the morning of April 26 2019, the couple called 999 after Amina stopped breathing.
Paramedics arrived within minutes and tried to save the eight-week-old’s life but she sadly died at the scene.
The Met Police said that there were no visible signs of injury at the time and her death was originally thought to be a Sudden Unexplained Death.
The first fractures were discovered during a radiological exam carried out because there were no visible injuries to Amina’s body, but no cause of death was established.
As a result of these findings the police launched an investigation and arrested O’Shea and Johnson in early May 2019.
On September 11, 2019 O’Shea and Johnson were re-arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.
The couple have repeatedly lied about the circumstances leading to little Amina’s death and have even blamed paramedics for the fractures, Inner London Crown Court heard.
They suggested that Amina’s death could have been a result of the innoculations she had received when they took her to the GP a day before her death and that her rib fractures were caused by the paramedics performing CPR.
Edmund Vickers, defending, said that O’Shea had also performed CPR in an attempt to save his daughter’s life.
‘The consequences finally caught up with them and they panicked,’ said Judge Nigel Peters.
Mr Vickers also said that as O’Shea did not know the cause of death, he was exploring the reasons for the rib fractures by suggesting the paramedics were responsible.
After Amina’s death, O’Shea wrote a letter to the police on ‘semi-official’ notepaper pretending to be the ‘Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’ suggesting that any proceedings were ‘not in order.’
He also telephoned the police pretending to be a neighbour in an attempt to shift blame onto Johnson.
‘He was never charged with perverting the course of justice nor was he charged with wasting police time,’ said Mr Vickers.
‘He accepts the jury’s verdict and has no wish to challenge that.’
The couple”s text messages revealed a ‘manipulative and abusive’ relationship with O’Shea boasting of his military service when in fact he had only been a reservist for a couple of years.
There were messages describing how they had slapped a second child and denied him water because they had soiled himself.
O’Shea also sent a text to Johnson discussing his difficulty at keeping calm after that child knocked over a drink in a fast food restaurant.
O’Shea had also made numerous calls to NHS 111 between 2016 and 2019 referring to his self-diagnosed PTSD and his aggression issues.
He said his PTSD was a result of a tour in Afghanistan but this was ‘totally untrue’, Judge Peters said.
Detectives found a call Johnson had made to NHS 111 on 1 April 2019 reporting that Amina had been coughing blood.
When the doctor phoned back and spoke to O’Shea advising him to take Amina to hospital, O’Shea failed to tell Johnson and the child stayed at home.
Judge Peters said: ‘This is sadly yet another harrowing case of parents abusing and being cruel to their children.
‘There were at least seven occasions when the injuries occurred. There were 41 rib fractures and 24 limb fractures, both left, right arm, left, right leg, culminating in the worst injury of the lot, a massive fracture to the right femur.
‘On the evidence itself that could only have been caused by a brutal, vicious, attack.
‘It is remarkable in this case that there were no signs externally of her fractures. The evidence from all the medics who examined the baby post-mortem was that they were all non-accidental.’
He added that both parents shared equal blame because as long-term carers, it is inconceivable that they would not have noticed that the baby was suffering.
‘The evidence is that significant force was used to break the right femur. The baby would have been in great distress and pain as a result and therefore whether perpetrator or not, the significant distress would be such that any long-term carer would notice that.’
Explaining his reasons for giving O’Shea a higher sentence, he said: ‘Your behaviour post the death of the child merits aggravation. It shows an intent on your part to interfere with the process of justice.’
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