Insufficient Evidence to Charge Poppi Worthington’s Father
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided that the father of thirteen month old Poppi Worthington will not face criminal charges.
Poppi was found with serious injuries in her home in December 2012 and later died in hospital in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
A judge at the time, Mr Justice Peter Jackson, ruled that the injuries were caused by sexual assault at the hands of her father, Paul Worthington. Judge Jackson went on to say:
“Shorn to its essentials, the situation is one in which a healthy child with no medical condition or illness was put to bed by her mother one evening and brought downstairs eight hours later by her father in a lifeless state and with troubling injuries.”
“Careful assessment of the meticulous pathological and paediatric evidence has clearly established that the injuries were the result of trauma from outside the body.”
Not Enough Evidence
Mr Worthington was arrested at the time of the toddler’s death and questioned on suspicion of sexual assault. However, prosecutors made the decision that there was not enough evidence to “to provide a realistic prospect of conviction”, and he was not charged with any offence.
Following this, the CPS said they would review Poppi’s case. However, the organisation announced this week that after examining the original files, they also came to the conclusion that there was not enough evidence for a conviction.
A spokesperson for the CPS said that it was not their business “to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal [courts] to consider”.
Agency & Police Failings
Following the decision from the CPS, the Chief Constable of Cumbria Police issued an apology to the toddler’s family:
“I would like to make a full and heartfelt apology to Poppi’s family and all those who loved her.
“Deficiencies in the initial police investigation contributed to the fact that, almost four years after her death, the cause still remains unascertained”.
In 2014, the police force referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Judge Jackson established that for nine months after Poppi’s death, ‘no real investigation’ was carried out by the force. The judge underlined numerous basic errors, such as police failing to gather items for forensic analysis and not securing the scene of the potential crime.
In June this year it was determined by a serious case review, that a total of six official agencies had missed significant signs that Poppi might have been at risk. The agencies at fault included child safe-guarding experts, health workers and mid-wives.
Speaking of how Poppi was let down by those who should have been looking out for her, a spokesperson for the NSPCC said:
“Nothing can change the circumstances which led to her tragic death, but justice cries out for someone to be brought to book for the terrible way she suffered.”
A second inquest into the child’s death is due to take place in the autumn of 2016.
Sexual Abuse Claims – Expert Advice
Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).
For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email [email protected]
You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.
Source: The Guardian