Young mother jailed for life for murder of 11-month-old baby
A young mother has been jailed for murdering her 11-month-old son who suffered "catastrophic injuries".
Emma Wilson was responsible for inflicting an unsurvivable brain injury on her son Callum Wilson which resulted in blindness, multiple fractures and eventually death.
Wilson, 25, from Windsor, Berkshire, had blamed her 23-month-old son for Callum's death, claiming ''constant pushing and rolling'' may have been to blame, the Old Bailey trial was told.
But after a five-week trial the jury unanimously found her guilty in December last year and today Judge Stephen Kramer QC sentenced her to life in jail with a minimum of 14 years.
Speaking following the sentencing, Det Supt Ian Hunter said: "The sentence today is a reflection of the abuse Callum suffered at the hands of someone entrusted to care for him and the pain he must have felt during his short life.
"It also reflects on the dedication and efforts of the investigating officers and prosecution team to deliver justice for Callum during what was a difficult and emotional case for many of them.
"Of course, sadly it does not bring Callum back and our thoughts will always remain with him."
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This was an extremely difficult and complex case to prosecute.
"Without any eye witnesses, we needed lengthy and highly technical evidence from top medical experts to help provide an explanation as to why this baby died. This evidence enabled the prosecution to piece together what had happened and exclude any possible innocent explanation for the baby's death.
"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved for baby Callum. We hope that the conviction and sentence will in some way help his extended family come to terms with this tragic event."
Callum died when he was taken from his mother's flat to hospital on March 18 2011 in a ''collapsed state'', the court heard.
During the trial, prosecutor Paul Dunkels said Callum's fatal brain injury was caused by a ''direct blow'' or from striking his head against something, while his leg fracture may have been the result of ''banging against a hard surface''.
As with her first child, Wilson showed no physical signs of pregnancy and was able to keep Callum's birth a secret - even from her doting parents, who were on holiday at the time the youngest son was born.
The court heard her then-partner, Neil Mitchinson, had insisted Callum be put up for adoption - something Wilson ''deeply regretted'' until she resumed custody.
She later became pregnant with Callum in 2009 after a relationship with another man, Lee Workman, who was unaware he was the father, Mr Dunkels said.
Callum was put into foster care after he was born but returned to his mother's home in November 2010.
Health and social workers spotted scratches on Callum during visits to her flat over the next few months, but Wilson blamed them on the boy's ''boisterous'' brother, the jury was told.
The court heard Wilson lied to staff and parents at a playgroup at Woodlands Park Village children's centre in Maidenhead, claiming Callum was her cousin's son.
She provided a false surname and address for the youngster and claimed on one occasion that bruising on Callum's face had been caused by an older sister who in fact did not exist, Mr Dunkels said.
Staff noticed Callum change from a ''happy, smiling baby'' to ''emotionless and listless'', the prosecutor added.
In March 2011, Wilson arrived for two playgroup sessions at the centre without Callum.
Photographs were shown to the jury of Callum with visible bruising to his face shortly before his death.
One picture showed Callum with his older brother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who was holding a pair of open secateurs.
Mr Dunkels said it was not the Crown's case that Wilson intended to kill her son but claimed she carried out ''a violent act'' against a ''vulnerable'' child.