Police not reopening baby death investigation

Woodland Avenue, Huthwaite
Woodland Avenue, Huthwaite

Nottinghamshire Police have confirmed they will not reopen their investigation into the death of a baby after a jury found a Huthwaite man not guilty of its manslaughter.

Scott Gladwin (20) was on trial at Nottingham Crown Court for the manslaughter of four-month-old baby Scott Cawthorne, who died on 6th February 2010.

Gladwin, who was just 16 at the time, had been left looking after the baby at its Woodland Avenue home in Huthwaite on 3rd February, while its mother, Kelly Middleton, went to the shops.

The baby died three days later from catastrophic brain injuries caused by someone shaking him with severe force.

However the jury took less than two hours to return a unanimous not guilty verdict on Gladwin last Wednesday following a three-week trial.

Speaking after the verdict, DCI Karen Pearson, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “The investigation into the death of Scott Cawthorne will not be reopened.

“This was a long and protracted investigation and we were satisfied that we had sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution.

“We are disappointed that no conviction has been secured. Our thoughts are with the family at this time.”

During the trial the court heard from a number of witnesses including Kelly Middleton herself, medical experts, the paramedics who attended the scene and neighbours.

Mrs Middleton, who is around 12 years older than Gladwin, told the court that she would leave the teenager to look after baby Scott and her other young son and he was ‘comfortable’ in handling the baby.

She said she did not tell social workers or the police that Gladwin used to babysit or that he was living in her house, for fear that the authorities would take her children off her.

She also denied having a sexual relationship with Gladwin, but admitted sending him text messages of a sexual nature after the baby had died and also meeting up with him.

She said this was to try and find out what had happened.

When Gladwin gave evidence, he told the court that he and Mrs Middleton had sex regularly before and after baby Scott’s death.

They also sent text messages and spoke on the phone.

He said he used to look after the child like ‘a father should’ and said he found baby Scott had become ill after returning from the toilet.

Gladwin denied doing anything to harm the baby.

Dr Patrick Davies, a consultant paediatrician in the intensive care unit at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, treated baby Scott.

He said that a CT scan showed the tot had suffered ‘severe head trauma’, while an MRI scan confirmed that his brain matter ‘had essentially died’. He also had ‘severe’ bleeding in the back of his eyes.

His life support system was withdrawn due to the severity of the injuries.

Before sending the jury out to consider their verdict, the judge Mr Justice MacDuff told them they were faced with a ‘stark choice’.

“Can you be sure that Kelly Middleton is telling you the truth when she tells us that that baby was in perfectly good health when she left for the shops,” he said.

“Of course she’s a woman for whom lies trip easily from her tongue.”

He also asked the jury to consider why Mrs Middleton would have shaken the baby unless it was crying and Gladwin, who was upstairs, had heard nothing.