Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 17:03 UK

Mother acquitted of killing baby

A mother accused of shaking her eight-month-old baby son to death in west London has been cleared due to "conflicting medical evidence".

The 27-year-old, who was acquitted of manslaughter, denied she had shaken her son in fit of temper which left him with a brain injury in May 2007.

She was described as a "loving mother" at the Old Bailey.

The judge ordered jurors to clear her after he was asked to make a ruling on conflicting medical experts.

"It is my firm view that - unusually - there is no evidence upon which this jury could find, to the extent they feel sure, that the expert opinion supporting the prosecution allegation of non-accidental death is to be preferred," said Judge Timothy Pontius.

'Triad of injuries'

The woman, who has faced two trials over the allegation, told police that her son had collapsed after falling off the sofa.

At the heart of the case was the presence of a "triad" of three specific injuries: bleeding on the brain, bleeding in the eye and swelling of brain tissue.

This "triad" would normally be used to provide a strong indication that injuries inflicted were not caused accidentally.

The judge said there was evidence that all three of these injuries had been brought on by "trauma of some kind" and the prosecution argued that having all three together proved "non-accidental death".

But defence experts said that the bleeding of the brain was unlikely to have been caused by shaking and one said it may have been the result of a loss of oxygen caused by choking on vomit.

All the experts also agreed, or were prepared to concede, that there had been cases in the past in which the "triad" of injuries had been caused by accidents.

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