Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Couple jailed after baby's death

Baby Jack
Baby Jack had suffered fractures up to a week before his death

A couple have been jailed for three years for child cruelty following the death of their six-month-old baby.

Stacey Taylor and Mark Harrison's son, Jack, died of pneumonia at Tameside General Hospital in November 2006.

Examinations later found that he had suffered a number of fractures to his limbs and the Tameside safeguarding children board launched an inquiry.

Taylor, 20, and Harrison, 27, of Chapel Court, Hyde, Greater Manchester, denied any knowledge of the injuries.

They were found guilty of child cruelty following a three-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court and sentenced on Monday.

The court heard that his parents were aware that he had a weak immune system and was drastically underweight but did not seek medical attention until it was too late.

Throughout this investigation they have been unable to explain how he got his serious injuries
Det Con Kath McKenzie, investigating officer

Baby Jack was not subject to any child protection measures and his death was not thought to be suspicious until the post-mortem examination was carried out.

A pathologist discovered the oldest fracture was up to 12 weeks old, while he suffered some of the other injuries up to a week before his death.

Small bruises caused up to 48 hours before he died were also found on his face and head which the pathologist said was most likely caused by poking or prodding.

Speaking after the hearing, Det Con Kath McKenzie, of Greater Manchester Police, said Harrison and Taylor had deliberately harmed their defenceless baby.

Mark Harrison and Stacey Taylor
Harrison and Taylor denied any knowledge of Jack's injuries

"Jack would have clearly been very ill in the lead up to his death but Taylor and Harrison did not take him to hospital or to a doctor, presumably because they were aware that the child's injuries would be discovered," she said.

"Throughout this investigation they have been unable to explain how he got his serious injuries, insisting they were either accidental or they did not realise he was injured.

"The court has found this is not the case. Maybe one day Jack's parents will take responsibility for their son's tragic and preventable death."

A serious case review was launched by the Tameside safeguarding children board following the death, and its recommendations are being adopted. The findings have not been made public.

A spokesperson said: "The serious case review highlights the importance of recognising signs of neglect and in dealing with parents who miss appointments with professionals and are resistant to accept help.

"It is always tragic when a baby dies and all agencies are working together to take the necessary steps to implement the recommendations of the draft serious case review which have all been accepted by the safeguarding board."

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