Parents murdered 10-month-old son after he was placed back into their care

Parents murdered 10-month-old son after he was placed back into their care

The parents of a 10-month-old boy have been found guilty of murdering him, 39 days after he was placed back into their care.

Stephen Boden and partner Shannon Marsden killed Finley Boden on Christmas Day in 2020.

Finley was found to have suffered 130 “appalling” injuries. His injuries included 57 breaks to his bones, 71 bruises and two burns on his left hand – one “from a hot, flat surface”, the other probably “from a cigarette lighter flame”.

A jury found the parents, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, guilty of murder following a trial at Derby Crown Court on Friday, April 14.

Parents murdered 10-month-old son after he was placed back into their care

They will be sentenced at a later date.

The court heard that the couple were responsible for the “savage and brutal” murder of their son after burning and beating him in repeated acts of violence.

Finley collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest at the family’s home in Holland Road, Old Whittington.

Paramedics were called there in the early hours of Christmas Day and Finley was taken to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Parents murdered 10-month-old son after he was placed back into their care

Judge Mrs Justice Tipples held back tears as she addressed the jury and thanked them for their “extremely impressive” conduct throughout the trial.

Finley was taken from his parents shortly after he was born in February 2020 due to child protection concerns.

However, later that year, he was returned to his parents’ care through a court order following an eight-week transition, despite social workers asking for a six-month period.

The court heard the pair worked together to keep professionals away from Finley to protect each other and to cover up serious violence.

This included cancelling a health visitor appointment two days before he died and telling social services when they arrived unannounced that Finley may have Covid-19 and refusing to let them in.

A child safeguarding review into the circumstances surrounding Finley’s death is currently under way.

A spokeswoman for Derbyshire County Council said it would be “fully engaged” with the review.

“This is a statutory legal process, formerly referred to as a serious case review, which looks in depth at the role of all agencies following the death of a child,” the spokeswoman added.

“The review is conducted independently and it would not be appropriate for us to comment further until that review is complete to ensure we do not pre-empt its findings.”

The court heard both Boden, 30, and Marsden, 22, were regular and heavy users of cannabis, who prioritised getting money to spend on the drug over their son’s care.

Toxicology tests showed cannabis was found in Finley’s blood, indicating that he must have inhaled smoke in the 24 hours before his death, the court was told.

The court was shown text messages sent from the couple’s shared mobile phone.

In one message to a contact saved as “Smokey J” at 12:39 GMT on 23 December 2020, the sender said the “little one” had “kept me up all night”.

The message added: “I want to bounce him off the walls. Haha.”

After Finley died, Boden was heard telling Marsden at hospital he was going to sell Finley’s pushchair “on eBay” but later told police he only said it “in an effort to lighten the mood”.

Prosecutor Mary Prior KC said Boden later told a relative that Finley had been crying, so “in his words, he ‘shook him a little bit'”.

But she added Marsden, visiting Finley’s body in a hospital chapel of rest on 11 January 2021, said: “His dad’s battered him to death. I didn’t protect him.”

Boden had claimed the family dog may have “jumped on” his son, inflicting broken ribs, while a tear to the inside of Finley’s mouth – likely caused by a dummy being rammed in – was blamed on the child hitting himself with a rattle.

Det Insp Stephen Shaw, who led the police investigation, said: “Finley Boden died in what should have been the safest place in the world for him – his own home.

“No verdict or jail sentence will bring Finley back, however, we now know the truth of what happened to him, and justice has been delivered.”

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