February 2021

Life sentence for man who killed 11-week-old baby

The mother of Teddie Mitchell who was killed at just 12-weeks-old has walked out of court today, as her partner was handed an 18-year sentence for murder.

Lucci Smith, 30, was handed a two-year community order at Cambridge Crown Court today for cruelty to a child, while Kane Mitchell, 31, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for murder.

Mitchell was also handed a 5-year concurrent sentence for cruelty or allowing serious physical harm to a child – with 247 days taken off his sentence for time served.

Teddie Mitchell was just 11 weeks old when he was assaulted by Kane Mitchell on November 1, 2019, in St Neots.

Mitchell was not the baby boy’s biological father but had been living with his mother, Lucci Smith, and her other children in the family home.

While Smith was out on the school run, Mitchell had a “sudden temper and frustration with Teddie” causing the baby boy’s fatal injuries.

During the pair’s sentencing at Cambridge Crown Court today, February 5, Mr Justice Knowles acknowledged that while Mitchell did not intend to kill Teddie, there was “nonetheless an intention to cause really serious harm.”

Teddie, who was born August 16 2019 died in hospital 10 days after sustaining the fatal injuries.

Mr Knowles summarised the injuries in his sentencing, explaining that there had been a previous assault by Mitchell.

He said: “Teddie on that occasion received a fracture to his right clavicle and fractures to two left ribs.

“On November 1, by then 11 weeks old, Teddie received 17 rib fractures, a fracture to his left clavicle, fatal skull fractures, brain, spinal, and eye injuries.

“The rib and clavicle fractures were caused by Mr Mitchell grabbing Teddie and squeezing him with so much force that the ribs and clavicle went beyond their natural pliability to the point of fracturing.

“The fatal injuries to the head involved the violent striking by Mr Mitchell of Teddie’s head against a hard or unyielding surface.”

The fatal assault took place while Smith was out, taking her other children to school.

After she returned it became clear to her throughout the course of the morning and early afternoon that something was wrong with her baby.

However, 999 was not called until 3pm that day.

Mr Knowles outlined how by 12.56pm Smith was “expressing the opinion to her mother that ‘Teddie’s really ill’.”

She then called the GP at around 2.30pm, where it was made clear to her that she needed to call 999 urgently.

However, Mr Knowles explained: “Even then she delayed doing that until she had been to the school and collected her other children.

“On their return to the flat at 3 o’clock, Teddie had stopped breathing. 999 was then called.”

Mr Knowles went on to say: “Teddie’s injuries and suffering were as a direct result of the actions of Mr Mitchell about which, in the light of the jury’s verdict, Miss Smith was unaware and had no foresight of.

“Her failure to obtain earlier medical help could not have saved Teddie.

“It could have spared him some pain and suffering.”

Evidence from the trial showed that Smith did care about her children’s wellbeing and “loved them” explained Mr Knowles, and she was “capable of being highly competent” when it came to their physical care.

“But,” he continued, “there were nonetheless times, and this offence is one of the results, where she did not stand up for the children because of what she wanted from her relationship with Mr Mitchell.

“In its own way, that failure accounts for her delaying on November 1 and allowing Mr Mitchell to deflect her actions and any attempt on her part to focus on Teddie’s needs.

“At the same time, the situation on November 1 was serious. It was obvious to her that something was seriously wrong, and like no other occasion it required the action and focus she was capable of giving.”

Mitchell was described as an “overbearing partner” by Mr Knowles as he spoke of the defence’s mitigation, saying: “In its own way it diminishes her ability to push through his failure to assist in any way on November 1.”

In addition to the sentences handed out today, Mr Knowles said the pair would be included in a list “that bars them from regulated activities relating to children and vulnerable adults”.

January 2021

Man found guilty of murdering 11-week-old baby

A man has today been found guilty of murdering an 11-week-old baby boy who had suffered a catalogue of injuries including a fractured skull and bleed to the brain.

Kane Mitchell, 31, of no fixed address but formerly of St Neots, inflicted multiple injuries on Teddie Mitchell at his home in St Neots, which led to his death in hospital on 11 November, 2019.

Teddie’s mother, Lucci Smith, 29, of Pattison Court, St Neots, was acquitted on charges of causing or allowing death and serious injury, but found guilty of neglect following a four-week trial which heard baby Teddie had suffered weeks of neglect and rough handling during his short life.

Mitchell is not Teddie’s biological father but was living with Smith who had children from a previous relationship.

Jurors were told Teddie suffered rib fractures, fractures to his collar bone and a fractured skull, and died from serious brain injuries.

The injuries suffered “would have led to Teddie screaming in pain… up to a point when he would have become unconscious”, the court heard.

Cambridge Crown Court heard Mitchell and Smith had been in a relationship for about eight months and had lived together with baby Teddie.

At 3pm on 1 November, 2019, the ambulance service was called to Pattison Court, St Neots, where Teddie was found to be unresponsive and in cardiac arrest.

Smith had left Teddie in the care of Mitchell while she did the morning school run. When she returned, she noticed he seemed lethargic and wouldn’t take his bottle.

She later contacted a GP after Teddie’s condition deteriorated. They advised her to call 999 but she waited about half an hour before calling them.

Teddie was rushed to the Special Care Baby Unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, where doctors discovered he had a fractured skull and a significant bleed on the brain.

Officers and medical staff were concerned about how Teddie received his injuries and Mitchell and Smith were both arrested at the hospital. Teddie was later transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for a specialist neurology assessment and placed in intensive care on life support, where doctors concluded he would not recover.

Medical staff kept Teddie stable on a life support machine, however, after 11 days, a decision was made to withdraw the life support and Teddie passed away shortly after.

A post mortem revealed he died as a result of his fractured skull and lack of oxygen to the brain.

During the trial, the jury were read statements from neighbours who said they had heard arguments coming from the address on a regular basis and that the household had been unsettled since Mitchell moved in.

During police interview, Mitchell said he believed he was Teddie’s biological father.

However, DNA results following the death revealed he was not.

He could not explain how Teddie came to suffer his fatal injuries.

During police interview, Smith claimed she and Mitchell were in a loving relationship and they rarely argued. She also couldn’t explain how Teddie came to have his fatal injuries.

The jury deliberated for two days following the four-week trial before reaching a verdict.

Mitchell and Smith will be sentenced on 5 February at Cambridge Crown Court.