Father jailed for manslaughter of his baby daughter - Luton

11/08/2015

A man appeared at the Old Bailey today, Tuesday, 11 August 2015, and was jailed for seven years for the manslaughter of his 9-week-old daughter, Scarlet, in Luton.

Adam Stokes, aged 33, from Luton, was found guilty by a jury of manslaughter on 14 July 2015, following a three-week trial at Luton Crown Court.

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 She was taken to hospital with a bleed on the brain, but 10-days later her life support was withdrawn and she died of a head injury.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tests, was transferred by ambulance to Great Ormond Street Hospital where she died 10 days later when life support was withdrawn.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 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."

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."