August 2015

Man jailed for the manslaughter of his nine-week-old baby daughter

adam

Luton man Adam Stokes was sentenced today to seven years for the death of his nine-week-old daughter Scarlet.

Stokes, 33, was found guilty of manslaughter at Luton Crown Court last month following a three-week trial.

He had violently shaken his baby daughter causing massive brain injuries to the infant which resulted in her death

Luton Crown Court heard she died in hospital 10 days later, when her life support was withdrawn.

He was jailed for seven years at the Old Bailey today.

Experts concluded that Scarlet died from head injuries as a result of Stokes violently mishandling her.

On the morning of Monday 14 January 2013 Scarlet had become ill while being fed by her father. She was taken to hospital with a bleed on the brain but 10 days later her life support was withdrawn.

Detective Chief Inspector Jerome Kent from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: “This is a tragic case in which the young life of a baby girl was taken when she should have had her full life ahead of her. This incomprehensible attack has left the family naturally devastated and although no sentence can undo this horrific loss we hope it can go some way in giving them closure.

“Adam was in a position of trust and should have protected his daughter. Violence against children will not be tolerated; we take any incident regarding the safety of a child very seriously and work hard to investigate any mistreatment to ensure culprits are brought to justice.”

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This was a terrible crime, which led to the untimely death of 9-week-old Scarlet Stokes-Craig at her home in Luton.

“On Monday, 14 January 2013, Scarlet’s mother called the emergency services at about 8.30am after Scarlet became unwell while being fed by her 33-year-old father, Adam Stokes.

Scarlet was taken by ambulance to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital and, after medical tests, was transferred by ambulance to Great Ormond Street Hospital where she died 10 days later when life support was withdrawn. The cause of death was a serious non-accidental head injury.

The prosecution case was that the bleed on the brain was caused by the baby being shaken with excessive force by Stokes. Due to a birth defect Scarlet had spent a considerable amount of her short life in hospital. It is impossible to imagine a more vulnerable victim.

“Stokes denied causing the death of his defenceless daughter and offered no explanation for how she obtained her injuries, but was found guilty by a jury on 14 July after a three-week trial of her manslaughter, despite his denials.

“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 little girl died. This evidence enabled the prosecution to piece together what had happened and exclude any possible innocent explanation for her death.

“We have worked closely with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit 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 Scarlet. I hope that the conviction and today’s sentence will in some way help her extended family come to terms with this tragic event. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time.”

July 2015

Luton man Adam Stokes found guilty of manslaughter of his nine-week-old baby daughter

A LUTON father was found guilty of the manslaughter of his nine week old baby daughter today (Tuesday).

Adam Stokes had violently shaken his daughter Scarlett causing massive brain injuries to the infant.

This afternoon Stokes was remanded in custody at Luton crown court while he awaits sentence which take place next month.

Trial judge Mrs Justice McGowan said she wanted the assistance of pre – sentence reports which will be prepared by the probation service who will conduct an interview with 33 year old Stokes in prison.

Stokes was told he will be brought back to the crown court to learn his fate on August 11, but the judge warned him a prison sentence is “inevitable.”

It was in January 2013 when his daughter Scarlett collapsed at their eighth floor flat in Luton having suffered a cardiac arrest

Scarlett was rushed to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital and transferred the same day to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

She never regained consciousness and died there 10 days later when the life support was withdrawn.

Throughout the trial the prosecution said the father was responsible for the appalling injuries she suffered by shaking her with “excessive force,” which caused her brain injuries.

Stokes, from Runfold, Luton pleaded not guilty to the child’s manslaughter.

The trial heard how an ambulance was called to the flat where she lived in with her father Green Court, Green Close in Luton at around 8am on the morning of 14 January 2013.

The court has heard paramedics found her to be “pale, unresponsive, blue, floppy, warm to the touch and in cardiac arrest

Baby Scarlett was being fed by her father at the time she collapsed and a medical evidence was given to the court that a bleed to her brain that had caused her death had been caused by shaking.

The jury heard how, on the evening of Sunday 13 January 2013, Scarlett was rushed to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital after she appeared to stop breathing in the flat.

Stokes said he had been feeding the baby at the time when, after the third ounce, she had started struggling to breathe and had gone “rigid and floppy and her lips and nose had started turning blue.”

He said his daughter was winded and when she was violently sick, her colour returned and she started breathing again.

In the witness, box Mr Stokes said that when his daughter had been born, she had undergone surgery immediately at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

After her discharge from hospital in late November 2012 he said she was brought home to Green Court.

He told the court he fed the baby, changed and bathed her daily, describing it as “the everyday things you do for a baby.”

Mr Stokes described his daughter as a “very, very quiet baby” who didn’t cry often and who sometimes had to be woken up for her feeds.

Following a visit to the GP on 3 January 2013 for her immunisations, he said she wasn’t herself and was very sleepy.

He said she also suffered what he described as “projectile vomiting,” as well as a cold.

On the the morning of Monday January 14 he said he got up around 6.45 to 7am and went into the kitchen and put the kettle on to make up a feed for his daughter.

Mr Stokes said he got his daughter out of her “Moses Basket” and started feeding her as he sat on the corner of his bed.

He said he winded her after each ounce, telling the jury “She was fine with the first two ounces again, then it got to the third ounce.”

Once again he said she suddenly went rigid then floppy.

He told the court his daughter was like “A rag doll.”

Once more he said an ambulance was called and he was given assistance over the phone on how to administer CPR to his daughter.

The father said he checked to see if his daughter’s heart was beating and he told the jury it was, but he said he “couldn’t see her breathing.”

He said he went to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital and later that day to great Ormond Street Hospital, where he learned doctors were treating Scarlett for “trauma.”

Miss Sonia Woodley QC, who defended Mr Stokes, asked him “It’s been suggested by the prosecution that you must have shaken Scarlett very vigorously to have caused the damage she sustained. Did you shake her?”

Mr Stokes replied “No, never ever.”

Asked how he felt when he was told Scarlett’s life support was to be removed on January 24, he replied “It was like my whole world had been ripped apart.”

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This was a terrible crime, which led to the untimely death of 9-week-old Scarlet Stokes-Craig at her home in Luton.

“On Monday, 14 January 2013, Scarlet’s mother called the emergency services at about 8.30am after Scarlet became unwell while being fed by her 33-year-old father, Adam Stokes. Scarlet was taken by ambulance to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital and, after medical tests, was transferred by ambulance to Great Ormond Street Hospital where she died 10 days later when life support was withdrawn. The cause of death was a serious non-accidental head injury. The prosecution case was that the bleed on the brain was caused by the baby being shaken with excessive force by Stokes. Due to a birth defect Scarlet had spent a considerable amount of her short life in hospital. It is impossible to imagine a more vulnerable victim.

“Stokes denied causing the death of his defenceless daughter and offered no explanation for how she obtained her injuries, but was found guilty of her manslaughter, despite his denials.

“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 little girl died. This evidence enabled the prosecution to piece together what had happened and exclude any possible innocent explanation for her death.

“We have worked closely with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit 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 Scarlet. I hope that the conviction will in some way help her extended family come to terms with this tragic event. However, no matter how long the prison sentence is, I acknowledge that nothing can make up for the loss of Scarlet. Our thoughts are very much with her extended family at this time.”