Sunday, 29 September 2013

FILICIDE: UK: more on Amada Hutton's trial

There were no medical records of Hamzah Khan from the age of two weeks old until he died in September 2011, court hears

On trial: Amanda Hutton is accused of the manslaughter of her four-year-old son Hamzah Khan

Social workers and medics knew nothing of the plight of a boy found starved and mummified in his cot because his mother failed to co-operate with services, a court heard today.
Hamzah Khan, whose severely malnourished and skeletal remains were only discovered almost two years after he died in squalor at his mother's filthy, rubbish-filled home, had never been seen by a GP after his birth.
And there were no medical records on him from the age of two weeks old until he died aged four and a half, Bradford Crown Court heard.
His body was still dressed in a baby-gro intended for an infant aged six to nine months when neighbours called police in September 2011. He had died 21 months earlier, on December 15 2009, with his body unmoved from the cot.
His mother Amanda Hutton, who drank heavily and suffered domestic violence from her husband Aftab Khan, consistently failed to keep doctors appointments, failed to get him immunised and slammed the door in the face of repeated calls from health visitors, the court heard.
Hutton, 43, from Bradford, denies the manslaughter of her son by gross negligence by allowing him to starve and failing to get medical assistance.
Dr Kathryn Ward, a paediatrician at Airedale NHS Trust in Yorkshire, told the jury medical records showed after Hamzah was born in June 2007, he was only ever seen once by a midwife and once by a social worker, in November 2006, three years before he died, when he appeared "well cared for and well dressed".

Four-year-old Hamzah Khan whose decomposed body was found in Crofton Road, Bradford
Four-year-old Hamzah Khan whose decomposed body was found in Crofton Road, Bradford

Ross Parry

"From two weeks of age, we know nothing about this child," Dr Ward told the jury.
"His personal development, behaviour, his personality or general health.
"It's a blank page. The picture of non-engagement and failure to respond to professionals from a variety of areas is a matter of great concern."
The court heard police had been repeatedly called to Hutton's home, starting in May 1996, to rows and fights with her husband.
After Hamzah was born, on the small side but otherwise fit and healthy, health visitors repeatedly called but failed to get into the house.
On one occasion the health visitor saw curtains moving inside, but no one answered the door and on another occasion the door was opened but Hutton, wearing just a towel, "was perceived to be hostile, said she was busy and slammed the door".
When Hutton failed to register the child's birth she was visited by the registrar and was seen to have a "puffed up" eye injury and smelt of alcohol.
Dr Ward said "multi-agency" meetings were called about the situation, involving police, council and health authorities.
But by October 2009 after repeated failed appointments, Hutton's GP surgery removed mother and child from the patients list - as is normal practice.
"It's something being addressed locally because it means children sink further beneath the radar," Dr Ward added.
Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, asked the witness: "Do you have any view on the history of non-engagement by Amanda Hutton?"
Dr Ward said: "The picture is one of gross negligence and non-engagement with professionals.
"We have the history of domestic violence. All of which suggests things were not well, limited contact with the mother suggests she was feeling low since the birth and had taken to using alcohol as a prop.
"The picture provides evidence of neglect of the child's health and emotional needs."
Earlier the court heard Hutton did nothing to alert the emergency services about her son's plight and even ordered pizza within hours of his death.
He was only found after police community support officer Jodie Worsley went to the house on a number of occasions due to concerns raised by neighbours.
The court heard how there was a terrible smell coming from the terraced house and, when Hutton eventually opened the door, there were flies buzzing around her.
Police went into the property and "'what they discovered disturbed even hardened officers", Mr Greaney said.
In police interviews Hutton said her son had become particularly unwell on December 14, 2009 and died the next day.
She told police that things deteriorated after her son's death and she began to drink a bottle of vodka a day.
Her house contained a huge amount of rubbish, rotting matter, faeces and empty bottles and smell "almost beyond description," the jury has heard.

FILICIDE: UK: Tracey Connelly, Baby P's mother 'to walk free in days':

 Woman who stood by and let her son be tortured 'no longer poses danger to the public'

  • Tracey Connelly, 32, of Haringey, north London, jailed indefinitely in 2009
  • Boy tortured to death in 2007 by her boyfriend and his paedophile brother
  • But Connelly has now applied to Parole Board to have her case reviewed
Tracey Connelly was jailed indefinitely in 2009 after admitting doing nothing while her 17-month-old boy was tortured to death by her boyfriend Steven Barker and his paedophile brother Jason Owen.
But experts told the Sunday Mirror yesterday that 32-year-old Connelly, of Haringey, north London - whose mother Mary O'Connor said she should never be released - poses ‘no danger to the public’.
Undated Metropolitan Police handout image of Tracey Connelly, mother of Baby Peter
Undated file handout photo issued by ITV News of Baby P
Awful crime: Tracey Connelly (left), 32, of Haringey, north London, was jailed indefinitely in 2009 after admitting doing nothing while her son Baby P (right) was tortured to death by her boyfriend and his paedophile brother
Connelly - who is at Low Newton jail in Brasside, County Durham - has applied to the Parole Board to have her case reviewed after spending her minimum term taking into account time on remand.
A source close to the case told the newspaper: ‘Connelly appeared before a parole board at the end of July when the members asked for further reports.

‘Those reports were carried out and all intelligence suggests she is no longer deemed a danger to the public. The only way the board could keep her in is if they think she is still a danger.’

A shortage of suitable bail hostel places could keep her in prison for a few days after her release is approved, although she might otherwise be out within 24 hours, reported the Sunday Mirror.
Peter was found dead in his blood-spattered cot at his mother's flat in August 2007, after suffering a catalogue of horrifying injuries including a broken back.
Leaving? Connelly - who is at Low Newton jail (pictured) in Brasside, County Durham - has applied to the Parole Board to have her case reviewed after spending her minimum term taking into account time on remand
Leaving? Connelly - who is at Low Newton jail (pictured) in Brasside, County Durham - has applied to the Parole Board to have her case reviewed after spending her minimum term taking into account time on remand
News of Connelly's possible release was met with horror from Mrs O'Connor, 63, who said her daughter should remain locked up for life.
'The only way the board could keep her in is if they think she is still a danger'
Source close to case
‘She should never come out,’ she told The Sun. ‘But even if she does I won’t be seeing her again, she’s out of my life.’
Mrs O’Connor, who previously spoken of her daughter's extreme weight gain in prison, said Connelly hoped the two women could start a new life in Kent - but she had no desire to be reunited with her daughter.
She attacked two of her children and stood by while Peter was tortured to death by Barker and Owen. At the trial, Connelly denied knowing who had caused the injuries to her son.
Peter suffered sickening injuries including a broken spine, injured ribs and removed fingernails - all of which was missed by social service workers.
Stephen Barker, father of Baby Peter
Jason Owen, 37, of Bromley, Kent, one of the three people jailed over the death of Baby Peter
Indefinite sentences: Tracey Connelly's boyfriend Steven Barker (left) and his paedophile brother Jason Owen (right) were both convicted of causing or allowing Peter's death
Criticised: Sharon Shoesmith, the former children's services chief in Haringey, waged a long battle to clear herself of any personal responsibility for the tragedy
Criticised: Sharon Shoesmith, the former children's services chief in Haringey, waged a long battle to clear herself of any personal responsibility for the tragedy
Three of the children - Peter and two of his siblings - were on Haringey's Child Protection Register because of fears they were being neglected by their mother.
'She should never come out. But even if she does I won’t be seeing her again, she’s out of my life'
Mary O'Connor, Tracey Connelly's mother
Social workers, health visitors and doctors saw the family 60 times before Peter died from his injuries.
Sharon Shoesmith, the former children’s services chief in Haringey, waged a long battle to clear herself of any personal responsibility for the tragedy.
She expressed ‘sorrow’ for Peter’s death, but has never apologised for her role in her department’s failings.
Barker and Owen were both convicted of causing or allowing Peter's death after he was found in his cot. They were given indefinite sentences of 10 and three-year tariffs respectively.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

FILICIDE: California: Wendy Guadalupe Gomez (foster mother and aunt) Charged With Murder

By David Lohr

Authorities in California said a 2-year-old girl was abused and tortured by her aunt for months before the child died.
The aunt, Wendy Guadalupe Gomez, 20, of Bakersfield, is being held in the Kern County Jail on $1.5 million bail on charges of second-degree murder, torture and willful cruelty to a child in the death of Karla Isidro.
The injuries the child sustained were inflicted "with the intent to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering, and for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose," according to court documents obtained by
Gomez, the sister of the child's mother, was also the girl's foster mother. The child had been placed in her care in June, police said.
The Kern County District Attorney's office said authorities were called to the 3300 block of Chester Lane on Friday to check on the welfare of the child. Upon arrival at the scene, police discovered the child was dead. They also noted the girl had "obvious trauma to her lower extremities," reported.
According to, a Monday autopsy failed to reveal a cause and manner of death. The results of toxicology tests are pending, police said.
Court documents allege Karla Isidro was tortured and subjected to extreme pain and suffering in the weeks leading up to her death.
Gomez, "assaulted [the child] in several ways and several times, including shaking her violently," according to the court documents.
Prior to death, an injury to the child allegedly resulted in "swelling to the head" and uncontrollable vomiting. Gomez, police said, refused to take the child to the hospital for medical treatment.
Police have yet to comment on what evidence or information they have obtained to substantiate the allegations against Gomez.
On Tuesday, Gomez entered a plea of not guilty before Kern County Superior Court Judge Colette M. Humphrey. Gomez is scheduled to appear in court for her preliminary hearing on Oct. 4. If convicted on all charges, she could receive a life sentence.

INFANTICIDE: Kentucky: Jessica Price charged ith murder

Jessica Price Gave Birth At Kohl's And Left Newborn In Trash To Die: Police

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted:   |  Updated: 09/26/2013 10:56 am EDT
Jessica Price
A Kentucky woman who gave birth at a Kohl's and left her newborn baby in the trash to die told police that she thought she had miscarried.
Jessica Price faces charges of murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence after she allegedly gave birth in a bathroom stall while at work and then put her newborn in a trash bag in August.
In footage of a police interview Aug. 8 obtained by NBC affiliate WAVE, Price said she thought she had miscarried because her daughter had stopped kicking the morning of the incident. After the baby girl was delivered, Price said she held her for a few minutes but she did not appear responsive.
"I had my period the entire time," Price said in the footage. "I have had a miscarriage before and it did the same thing. I just was home at the time when I lost the baby last time."
Price told police she only learned that she was pregnant about a month before her delivery. She did not explain why she failed to seek medical treatment.
"We believe the baby was born alive and would be alive today if she had provided basic care for the baby," Louisville police Lt. Todd Kessinger told WLKY in August, when charges were brought against Price. The baby was discovered by another Kohl's worker, he said at the time.
Under Kentucky law, parents of unwanted babies may give up their children at hospital emergency rooms, police stations and fire stations, according to WHAS.

NEGLECT CAUSING DEATH (multiple deaths): Wisconsin: Angelica Belen Gets 18 Years

By M.L. JOHNSON 09/27/13 05:54 PM ET EDT AP
MILWAUKEE — Growing up in an abusive home, Angelica Belen found comfort and safety behind the locked door of a bedroom or bathroom. So when her baby sitter fell through last spring, she locked her three young children in a bedroom and went to the new job she needed to support her family.
While she was gone, a fire sparked by faulty wiring in the kitchen killed her 5-year-old daughter, Nayeli Colon, and 4-year-old twin sons, Adrian and Alexis Colon. Their bodies were found huddled under a dresser in her home in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis.
Belen, 25, was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison and 18 years of extended supervision for the children's deaths. Judge Jeffrey Wagner said he sympathized with Belen, who had been struggling to raise four children, three of them with special needs. But he also said she had failed in her duty to take care of them. Her fourth child was visiting his father at the time of the fire.
"I understand your terrible, terrible upbringing," Wagner said. "I know you were victimized yourself growing up, and I understand that and I take that into consideration. But there shouldn't be this cycle."
A tearful Belen apologized profusely for leaving the children alone and the hurt that she caused her family. At one point, she spoke directly to her dead children.
"I'm sorry that you'll never grow up. I am sorry that I will never see you grow up, graduate high school and have children of your own," said Belen, who pleaded guilty in July to three counts of felony child neglect.
She was 3 in 1992 when her 17-month-old sister was found beaten and starved in her crib. Belen's mother was sentenced to eight years in prison for child neglect, and her boyfriend was convicted of beating the child. The surviving siblings were placed in foster homes, where court records show Belen was abused.
Prosecutor Mark Williams, who recalled attending Belen's mother's sentencing, said that while her upbringing was "horrific," it was no excuse.
"She certainly started out behind the eight ball in life, but her sisters did well and this defendant had the chance to do well," Williams said.
The children's deaths divided Belen's family, with one sister asking Wagner to sentence her to life in prison while other relatives pleaded for understanding. Belen faced a maximum 15 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision for each death.
"It is beyond my comprehension how a mother could do this to her children, her own flesh and blood," said Belen's sister, Leah Sillix, who helped identify the children's bodies and still has nightmares.
Another sister, Maria Sosa, and Belen's aunt, Sharon Fredericks, said Belen had done the best she could and needed more help than she received.
"Her intention was to protect the children, your honor, it wasn't to hurt them," Fredericks said. "She would never hurt them."
Williams reviewed multiple child welfare reports that described the children living in filthy conditions with dirty diapers, garbage and feces littering the home. Other reports described exposed wires, and once, the children eating out of a garbage can.
But the prosecutor and others said child welfare workers shared responsibility for the children's deaths. Belen received multiple warnings from the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare for repeatedly leaving her children alone and was eventually charged with child neglect.
Nonetheless, the children were never removed from her care. A Wisconsin Department of Children and Families investigation later determined the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare hadn't handled her case properly and overhauled the bureau's in-home services program. Changes to the child welfare system in the wake of the case include more staff training, increased home visits and longer program stints for families

Thursday, 26 September 2013

NEONATICIDE (multiple): Germany: Steffie Koppers preferred life with swingers

Nymphomaniac 'killed her two newborn babies so she could go to German swingers club'

  • Steffie Koppers 'became pregnant with babies during her visits to the club'
  • Police sources say she didn't want the children around to 'bother' her
Steffie Koppers, 24, bragged repeatedly about her visits to the sex club Kali on her Facebook page.
In one, she wrote: 'I'm in the swingerclub Kali. We are three nice ladies but we want men and there are none here!' 
Another reads: 'It seems it's bad when a solo woman goes to a swinger club to get gratification from more than one man.'
Steffie Koppers
Steffie Koppers
Nymphomaniac: Koppers, 24, bragged repeatedly about her visits to the sex club Kali on her Facebook page
Police believe Koppers, who worked for a local tourism authority, became pregnant with the babies she killed through her sex encounters at the club in Kamp Lintfort. One of the deaths occurred in November last year.
She lived on a remote farm with her father at Weeze near Duesseldorf. 
On Tuesday this week, when she was at work, her father Heinz made the terrible discovery of the baby corpses in the home they shared.
One was reduced to a skeleton, the other wrapped in a sheet. 
He telephoned the police who arrested his daughter at her place of work.
Murder commission head Gerd Hoppmann said: 'She admitted what happened but not comprehensibly able to tell us exactly why.'

Police sources said she was 'addicted' to going to the club and didn't want the babies around to 'bother' her.

One cousin told the Bild newspaper: 'She was obese. We suspected on more than one occasion that she was pregnant but she denied everything.'
The Kali sex club charges men up to £65 a time to enter but women get in for less than £10.
A club spokesman was unavailable for comment although media reports said police are talking to the clientele to try to find the identities of the men who fathered the killer's children.
Favourite haunt: The Kali sex club charges men up to £65 a time to enter but women less than £10
Favourite haunt: The Kali sex club charges men up to £65 a time to enter but women less than £10

Saturday, 21 September 2013

FILICIDE: Ohio; China Arnold put baby in microwave: requests new trial

China Arnold, Mom Convicted For Cooking Baby In Microwave, Wants New Trial

By David LohrPosted:   |  Updated: 09/19/2013 9:38 am EDT
On Tuesday, a lawyer representing 33-year-old China Arnold requested a new trial in Ohio's Second District Court of Appeals. Attorney Christopher Thompson claims multiple errors were made in Arnold's case.
If the request is granted, Arnold will go on trial a fourth time for the August 2005 slaying of 28-day-old Paris Talley.
Arnold's first trial, in February 2008, ended in a mistrial. In September 2008 she was found guilty, but the conviction was reversed after an appeals court found there were trial court errors. Three years later, in May 2011, Arnold was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison.
According to court documents, Arnold was arguing with her boyfriend in a Montgomery County home about her baby's paternity, when she put the baby in a microwave and turned it on.
Medical experts said the baby died after her temperature reached between 107 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. She had no external burns, but did suffer high-heat internal injuries.
During Arnold's 2008 trial, Montgomery County prosecutor Daniel Brandt said Arnold had admitted to police that she killed her baby.
"'I killed my baby.' Those are the words of the defendant," Brandt said. "'I wrapped her up. I put her in the microwave. I turned the microwave on and I went outside. She fit right in.'"
John Paul Rion, the attorney who represented Arnold at her first trial, said she was intoxicated to the point of blacking out when the child died. He also alleged witnesses had changed their stories.
Thompson did not immediately return a call for comment from The Huffington Post on Wednesday.
According to the Dayton Daily News, Thompson's motion includes a request for a trial without the chance of the death penalty. There has been no word yet on when the appeals court will rule on the motion.

FILICIDE: Idaho: Veronica T. Herrera pleaded to involuntary manslaughter

Veronica T. Herrera, 29, sentenced to 30 years in prison for burning daughter’s remains in 2012
  • Police say Herrera claimed her 2-year-old daughter, Nakita, died after hitting her head on a heater
  • Herrera claims she burnt the body because she “freaked out,” didn’t want to lose children
An Idaho mother who admitted to burning her dead child’s remains in a barrel was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday.
Veronica T. Herrera, 29, pleaded guilty in April to involuntary manslaughter, failure to notify authorities of a death, injury to a child, and four counts of destruction of evidence.
A judge Thursday sentenced Herrera to 30 years in prison with 15 years fixed.
Authorities say on August 18, 2012, Herrera approached a police officer outside the Nampa Police Station and said “she did something bad, and that her child was burnt and she made it worse,” officials said in a police report.
During an interview with investigators, the mother told police her daughter, 2-year-old Nakita, had thrown herself onto a heater and hit her head on August 15.
The mother told officials she then placed her daughter in a playpen in the living room of her Homedale home and told her 9-year-old son to watch the little girl while she went to her sister’s house in Caldwell to drop off her other children, police said.
When Herrera returned home, she told investigators she went to check on her daughter and found that “she was not breathing and had a large bump on her head,” documents state. Herrera told authorities that in a panic she wrapped her daughter’s body in a blanket and placed the body in the back of her minivan overnight.
The following day, Herrera told police she went to a market, purchased lighter fluid, and returned to the house where she put the girl’s body into a burn barrel in the backyard and lit it on fire.
“Veronica said the other children did not know what she was doing and thought it was mom just having a fire,” the police report stated. “Veronica stated that she allowed the other children to add trash and other items into the burned barrel where she put Nakita’s body to keep the fire going.”
When asked by police why she did not call authorities after her daughter had been injured, “Veronica said she did not want to lose her children, so she freaked out,” the police report stated.
Herrera told police she went to check on the burn barrel the following day and stated that when she looked inside she could still see her daughter’s body parts inside the barrel, authorities said.
The mother, according to investigators, said she went back to the store and purchased two more bottles of lighter fluid and lit the burn barrel and remaining body parts on fire.
The next day, Herrera told police she added additional items, including garbage, to the burn barrel and set it on fire a third time.
“When this happened, I just got so scared of losing my kids. I made things worse, but at the time I was just thinking about losing my kids,” Herrera said during the second day of her sentencing hearing, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported. “I realize that all I did was make myself look guilty. I made myself look like I did something to make her pass away,” she added.
HLN was unable to reach Herrera’s defense attorney William Wellman for a statement Monday. However, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported that at the hearing, the defense argued that Herrera did not kill her daughter, she simply reacted poorly to her death.
“The body was all that was there. The soul of the child had already gone to heaven,” Wellman told Judge Thomas J. Ryan when before requesting a sentence of 10 years with 3 years fixed, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune.
“You need to be held accountable,” Judge Ryan told Herrera before handing down the 30-year sentence, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune. “You need to pay a debt to society.”
Herrera will be eligible for parole in September 2028.

FILICIDE (multiple): USA: Marilyn Edge Charged With Killing Two Children

 09/16/13 07:46 PM ET EDT AP

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A mother involved in a contentious custody case was charged Monday with killing her 13-year-old autistic son and 9-year-old daughter in California after a judge ordered them returned to their father in Georgia.
Authorities weren't releasing many details, but one of the special circumstances filed by prosecutors against 42-year-old Marilyn Edge alleges the children were poisoned.
Edge, of Scottsdale, Ariz., is charged with two counts of murder with special circumstances in the deaths of her daughter Faith and son Jaelen. The children were found Saturday in a Santa Ana hotel room.
Edge lost custody of them on Wednesday in a Georgia case then texted her ex-husband, Mark Edge, two days later that she would bring the children back on Sunday, his attorney Marian Weeks said.
Mark Edge was informed about the death of the children early Sunday by Atlanta police and was taken to a hospital for duress.
"He's emotionally, extremely distressed," Weeks said. "He is getting better. His whole focus right now is on the children."
Marilyn Edge could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted. She is expected to be arraigned Tuesday.
She was driving a car that crashed Saturday into an electrical box outside a shopping complex in Costa Mesa. She refused to get out of the car and tried to choke herself with an electrical cord as rescuers attempted to free her, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
Police found propane in the car but wouldn't say whether there was a suicide note.
Authorities said Edge told investigators they could find her children's bodies at the hotel.
The Edges were married for less than 10 years and divorced in December 2007, Weeks said. Marilyn Edge claimed her former husband, who routinely traveled to Afghanistan where he worked as a contractor, failed to make child support payments, according to court records.
She also claimed the children of a friend of her ex-husband were sexually abusing her kids, but the allegations were never proven, Weeks said.
Marilyn Edge was given full custody of her children in October 2009, a ruling that was later set aside after Mark Edge contended he wasn't aware of a court hearing because he was overseas and documents were sent to a wrong address. However, the Georgia Supreme Court later found there wasn't enough evidence to set aside the ruling.
Weeks said the case began to turn in the ex-husband's favor in September, when a judge reduced child support payments and ordered joint custody. At the time, Edge hadn't seen his kids in more than 1 1/2 years because his ex-wife refused to let him visit, the lawyer said.
Mark Edge was stymied again by his ex-wife, who moved to Arizona shortly after the judge's order, saying she was getting a job transfer. He only saw his children three or four times via video phone calls, Weeks added.
"All he wanted was to spend time with his children," Weeks said. "But Marilyn could not let that happen."
At a hearing last Wednesday in a Georgia courtroom, a judge found that Marilyn Edge was alienating her children from her ex-husband and said he should be given full custody, Weeks said. It's customary for the custody transfer to happen the same day as the judge's order, Weeks said, but Marilyn Edge said the children were staying with her parents in Arizona.
The judge gave her until noon Sunday to turn over the children. On Friday, Mark Edge received a text from his ex-wife saying, "'I will see you on Sunday and I have their school records,'" Weeks said.
Lawyer Mary Ann Korre said she had only represented Marilyn Edge at the most recent child custody hearing and had only known her client a few weeks.
She wasn't aware of any reason why her client wouldn't want her ex-husband to have contact with the children. Marilyn Edge was calm at the last hearing and there was nothing to indicate she might harm the kids, Korre said.
"I received the news yesterday and I was just very shocked," she said. "It's just a very tragic situation."
AP Writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this report.