Mother and partner convicted following baby death - Luton

29/07/2016

A mother and her partner have today, Friday, 29 July 2016, been sentenced at Luton Crown Court after being found guilty, by a jury, of contributing to the death of a baby boy last November in Luton.

Ronnie Tayler-Morrison, aged 22, of Crawley Road, Luton, and her partner, Hardeep Hunjan, aged 27, of the same address, were convicted yesterday, Thursday, 28 July 2016, after a 6-week trial, of charges relating to the death of Tayler-Morrisons son, 13-month-old Noah Serra-Morrison, on 21 November 2015, at their home in Luton.

While Tayler-Morrison was acquitted of the murder of her son, she was found guilty of causing or allowing his death and cruelty by wilful neglect. She was jailed for six and a half years.

Hunjan was found guilty of Noah's murder and of cruelty by wilful neglect. He was sentenced to life and is to serve a minimum of 23 years.

During the trial, Luton Crown Court heard how tiny Noah had died of a massive head injury believed to have been caused by being slammed against a hard surface such as a wall or floor.  He had also suffered multiple limb fractures consistent with being twisted or swung.

Tayler-Morrison and Hunjan had allowed for a lengthy delay in calling for emergency assistance to help save baby Noah.  In the period between the catalogue of injuries being inflicted on Noah and Tayler-Morrison calling 999, the then 21-year-old had made internet searches for the terms 'My baby is hurt' and 'My baby is breathing but not moving.'  She had also made a call to her sister, crying, explaining Noah had fallen from his cot and Hunjan put Noah in the shower in an attempt to wash away any forensic evidence.

The 999 call was eventually made one hour and 14 minutes after the call to Tayler-Morrison's sister and one hour and 42 minutes after the internet searches were made. The pair maintained claims to neighbours, medical professionals and police that Noah had been injured as a result of falling from his cot.

Noah was confirmed dead at 4.10am at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital. A post-mortem examination carried out on the child showed his numerous traumatic injuries were wholly inconsistent with a fall from a cot. The osteoarticular pathologist also noted 24 bone fractures in the youngster's arms and legs and including his skull. Nine of these injuries were caused during the last six weeks of his life.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This was a sad case resulting in the untimely death of 13-month-old baby Noah Serra-Morrison on 20-21 November 2015, in Luton. This was a tragic waste of life and one which could have easily been avoided.

"At just after 2am on 21 November 2015, baby Noah's mother, Ronnie Tayler-Morrison, called her sister, a student nurse, and told her that Noah had fallen out of his crib and was not with it. Her sister told her to call an ambulance, but Tayler-Morrison did not call the emergency services until much later. When paramedics arrived at their Luton flat they found baby Noah was exhibiting no signs of life. He was taken to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, but pronounced dead at 4.10am. The cause of death was a massive non-accidental head injury, which resulted in bleeding on the brain. Noah's head injury was caused by multiple blunt force head impacts and the striking of his head against a hard surface such as a wall or floor. Other injuries included bruising on his head and body and fractures to his arms and legs. Many of these fractures were caused at the same time as the head injury, but it was discovered that Noah's left arm and left leg had been fractured twice before, once 4-6 weeks before his death, and once 5-7 days before his death.

"Tayler-Morrison, and her partner, Hardeep Hunjan, each had responsibility for baby Noah and both failed to protect him, adequately care for him and ensure he had access to timely medical care. From July 2015 their lives became increasingly chaotic with the increased use of alcohol and drugs. They moved into the flat in Crawley Road, Luton on 12 October 2015. The prosecution case was that both were guilty of playing some part in Noah's death. Additionally, they faced a cruelty charge as evidence revealed that they had failed to call an ambulance for over three hours when medical help was clearly needed.

"Tayler-Morrison and Hunjan denied murder, cruelty, and causing or allowing the death of defenceless baby Noah and blamed each other for his death. The initial explanation they offered for his injuries and subsequent death was that he fell out of his small, knee high, wooden crib, which was ludicrous.

"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 boy died. This evidence enabled the prosecution to piece together what had happened and exclude any possible innocent explanation for his 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 Noah. I hope that the verdicts and today's sentences will in some way help his family come to terms with this tragic event. However, no matter how long the prison sentences are, I acknowledge that nothing can make up for the loss of Noah. Our thoughts are very much with his family at this time."

Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie from the tri-force Major Crime Unit said: "Rarely do we come across a case that involves such sheer malice and utter cruelty against a small child, by two people who were supposed to love and care for him.

"Throughout this case the disregard shown by both Tayler-Morrison, Noah's own mother, and Hunjan has been evident, not least in the fact they attempted to evade justice by attempting to flee to Scotland whilst on bail.

"Poor Noah experienced fear, pain, neglect and extreme brutality during his too-short life. No child deserves that, and it has been evident throughout our investigation, and the trial, that Tayler-Morrison and Hunjan chose a tumultuous, drug and alcohol-fuelled lifestyle over his happiness and welfare.

"Little Noah suffered unimaginably as a result of the volatility of his mother's relationship with Hunjan, who today has been convicted of the little boy's murder. Even in his death he was denied any dignity by being left to suffer for more than an hour.

"This has truly been one of the most shocking and sickening cases of violence we have ever come across, and I would like to thank my tenacious, dedicated team of investigators who have worked so hard in all hours of the day and night to bring this traumatic case to a resolution. Though nothing can ever bring back their beautiful boy, I hope that the verdicts and sentences can bring some semblance of peace for Noah's wider family."