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Friday 1 August 2014

Mother who colluded with two men to tell 'pack of lies' about death of her seven-week-old son is jailed

Published 15/07/2014|18:31

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Undated handout photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of Katarzyna Gacek who was found guilty at Preston Crown Court, alongside two others, of perverting the course of justice in relation to the death of her son seven-week-old Thomas Gacek who died from severe head injuries that medical experts concluded the probable cause was non-accidental. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday July 15, 2014. See PA story COURTS Thomas. Photo credit should read: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Katarzyna Gacek who was found guilty at Preston Crown Court, alongside two others, of perverting the course of justice in relation to the death of her son seven-week-old Thomas Gacek who died from severe head injuries that medical experts concluded the probable cause was non-accidental. Photo: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
Undated handout photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of Dawid Mokrzanowski who was found guilty at Preston Crown Court, alongside two others, of perverting the course of justice in relation to the death of seven-week-old Thomas Gacek who died from severe head injuries that medical experts concluded the probable cause was non-accidental. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday July 15, 2014. See PA story COURTS Thomas. Photo credit should read: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Dawid Mokrzanowski who was found guilty at Preston Crown Court, alongside two others, of perverting the course of justice in relation to the death of seven-week-old Thomas Gacek who died from severe head injuries that medical experts concluded the probable cause was non-accidental. Photo: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
Undated handout photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of Darren Butterfield who was found guilty at Preston Crown Court, alongside two others, of perverting the course of justice in relation to the death of seven-week-old Thomas Gacek who died from severe head injuries that medical experts concluded the probable cause was non-accidental. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday July 15, 2014. See PA story COURTS Thomas. Photo credit should read: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Darren Butterfield who was found guilty at Preston Crown Court, alongside two others, of perverting the course of justice in relation to the death of seven-week-old Thomas Gacek who died from severe head injuries that medical experts concluded the probable cause was non-accidental. Photo: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

A mother who colluded with two men to tell "a pack of lies" about the death of her seven-week-old son has been jailed for 20 months.

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Baby Thomas Gacek died from severe head injuries as medical experts concluded the most probable cause was non-accidental, Preston Crown Court heard.

The youngster was admitted to Royal Oldham Hospital on the late evening of January 25 with multiple bruises all over his body, severe retinal bleeding in both eyes and was noted to be pale, unresponsive and having a seizure.

He was transferred to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital but was pronounced dead two days later.

Prosecutor Raymond Wigglesworth QC said a consultant paediatrician found the number of bruises - 25 different sites - on Thomas's body were "suggestive of inflicted injuries and were not consistent with accidental injuries to a non-mobile baby".

The post-mortem examination also showed that Thomas had four fractured ribs said to have been caused in the days before he suffered the fatal head injury.

The court heard that Thomas's mother, Katarzyna Gacek, had been out shopping on January 25 when she returned at lunch time to find a cut and bruising around her son's lip.

She was told by live-in landlord Dawid Mokrzanowski that he had fallen asleep and that Thomas must have banged his mouth on the frame of his rocking cradle, the court was told.

Her boyfriend Darren Butterfield later arrived at the house just after 2pm but the jury heard that the baby was not taken to hospital until after 11pm.

Today Katarzyna Gacek, 24, fellow Polish national Mokrzanowski, 26, and Darren Butterfield, 35, of Ross Avenue, Chadderton, were cleared of causing or allowing the death of a child.

Mokrzanowski was also cleared of manslaughter.

All three defendants initially told medics and police that Gacek was alone in the house in Hillside Avenue all day and she accidentally tripped on the stairs, dropped her son and then fell on him.

Each later changed their accounts but the prosecutor in opening the case said the jury was entitled to ask whey they had told "a pack of lies".

Mr Wigglesworth said: "Why did the three defendants agree to lie about what happened to Thomas? Was it because they feared the Social Services coming in asking questions or was there some other motive for shielding the truth from the hospital staff and police?"

Gacek, Mokrzanowski and Butterfield were all jailed for 20 months after they were convicted of perverting the course of justice, said police.

Senior investigating officer Duncan Thorpe said: "Gacek, Mokrzanowski and Butterfield all colluded together to hide the truth of what really happened to baby Thomas that night.

"He had been subjected to abusive head trauma caused by violent shaking and suffered a number of other injuries including fractured ribs. "This has been a very sad and difficult investigation for all those involved."

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