Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 17:32 UK

Toddler death babysitter released

Suzanne Holdsworth (Issued by Cleveland Police)
Suzanne Holdsworth claimed Kyle had suffered a fit

A babysitter found guilty of murdering her neighbour's two-year-old son has been released from prison after her conviction was ruled unsafe.

Lawyers for Suzanne Holdsworth, 37, had argued that new evidence showed she was the victim of a miscarriage of justice over the death of Kyle Fisher in 2005.

The Court of Appeal was told Kyle's brain had abnormalities which predisposed him to epilepsy.

Ms Holdsworth, of Hartlepool, Teesside, was granted bail ahead of a retrial.

The former supermarket worker was accused of having repeatedly banged the boy's head against a banister in her home after having "snapped" while looking after the child whose 19-year-old mother was on a night out.

Watching television

She consistently denied injuring Kyle and claimed he had suffered a fit as they sat watching television.

In a statement her family said they were "ecstatic at today's news" and described it as "wonderful".

Kyle Fisher
Kyle Fisher's brain predisposed him to epilepsy, the court heard

They said they were "looking forward to the retrial" which they hoped would "prove this case to be a miscarriage of justice".

Outside court Ms Holdsworth's solicitor, Campbell Malone, said bail had been granted with conditions.

Lord Justice Toulson, quashing the conviction, said that having evaluated the oral evidence "we do not consider that we can safely dismiss the medical scenario advanced on the applicant's behalf".

A jury at Teesside Crown Court found Ms Holdsworth guilty of murder in 2005. She was jailed for life and told she would have to serve at least 10 years before applying for parole.

'Unusual brain'

At Thursday's hearing, Lord Toulson said it was the court's view that if the fresh medical evidence had been given at her trial it might reasonably have affected the jury's decision to convict.

He said the conviction "must be judged unsafe".

Suzanne Holdsworth's partner said she was innocent

Henry Blaxland QC, for Ms Holdsworth, said doctors at her trial had "failed to diagnose" that Kyle had a "highly unusual brain" which indicated three abnormalities, two of which predisposed him to epilepsy.

Commenting on the court's decision, her solicitor said: "I think she was crying, but she said she was very happy. She was just overwhelmed with emotion."

Ms Holdsworth's boyfriend, Lee Spencer, said he had never doubted her innocence and was delighted at the verdict.

"It's something we've said all along, that it's been a grave miscarriage of justice, pre-trial, the original trial, she was innocent, and she's still the same innocent woman today, as proven in court.

"But let's not forget what this is about - we can be happy and chuffed to bits that the court has listened to new evidence - but a child is still dead," he said.

Ms Holdsworth was freed from Low Newton prison in County Durham , where she has served three years of a life sentence.

In a statement released by Cleveland Police, Kyle's family said: "All we have ever wanted was to know the truth about what happened to Kyle.

"Since his death our lives have focused around the case - not one of us has been able to move on.

"Today's decision has brought all the heartache back, however we will fully cooperate in the preparation for the retrial."




SEE ALSO
Doubt cast on baby death verdict
06 Dec 07 |  Newsnight


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