CPS Wessex statement in relation to Shelly Adams


Following a Serious Case review into the deaths of Bradley and James Adams, the Complex Casework Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Wessex contacted Hampshire Constabulary to discuss the findings of the review.

Following discussions CPS Wessex decided that it should look at whether or not  there was sufficient evidence and whether it was in the public interest to prosecute Shelly Adams, the mother of Bradley and James with an offence of  child neglect of the Cruelty to Persons under 16, contrary to section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

Arwel Jones, Head of the Complex casework Unit for CPS Wessex said: "In light of the Serious Case Review commissioned by the Southampton Local Safeguarding Children Board into the deaths of Shelley Adams' children, Bradley and Jayden, and in accordance with our duty  to review continuously our decisions, it was important, in consultation with Hampshire Constabulary, to review the case and decide whether any charge of child neglect should be brought against Shelley Adams. The decision had already been taken that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute her for any offence of homicide.

"I have considered the findings of fact made by Mr Justice Baker in associated Family Court proceedings, the findings in the LSCB report and the evidence obtained by Hampshire Police in the course of their investigation into the deaths of Bradley and Jayden. I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect that Shelley Adams would be convicted of any offence of child neglect under section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

"Although Mr Justice Baker and the Serious Case Review had found that Shelley Adams had neglected her children, the offence of child neglect goes further and requires that the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that she had wilfully ill-treated or neglected her children in a manner likely to cause them unnecessary suffering or injury to their health.

"The boys' deaths could not be attributed to the way in which she cared for them. Whilst there was evidence to support the findings made by Mr Justice Baker, that did not extend to evidence sufficient to prove that any neglect on her part was wilful and likely to cause the children unnecessary suffering or injury to health."