Father found guilty of manslaughter of his 9-week-old daughter - Luton

14/07/2015

A man was today, Tuesday, 14 July 2015, found guilty at Luton Crown Court of the manslaughter of his 9-week-old daughter in Luton.

Adam Stokes, aged 33, from Luton, was found guilty by a jury following a three-week trial.

Scarlet became ill on the morning of Monday, 14 January 2013, while being fed by her father, Adam Stokes. She was taken to hospital with a bleed on the brain, but 10-days later her life support was withdrawn and she died of a head injury.

Experts concluded that her injuries had been a result of Stokes violently mishandling Scarlet.

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tests, was transferred by ambulance to Great Ormond Street Hospital where she died 10 days later when life support was withdrawn.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."

Detective Chief Inspector Jerome Kent from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: "This is a tragic case in which a very young baby has lost their life. This little girl should've been protected by her father.

"We will not tolerate violence towards children and work hard to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. We were committed to getting the right result for Scarlet and the verdict goes some way in helping her family who have had to deal with this devastating loss."

Stokes has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday, 11 August 2015.