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Parents sentenced for death of one-month-old baby

|News, Violent crime

A father from Leicester has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years for the murder of his five-week-old baby son, and a mother jailed for allowing his death.

Ollie Driver died in his cot on the night of 20-21 October 2017 from the delayed results of a broken neck inflicted some days earlier. Extensive pathology investigations revealed he had suffered a succession of injuries, including 40 broken bones and brain injuries. Medical experts agreed that these injuries could only have been caused by physical abuse.

Evidence from the investigation, including accounts of the last few days of Ollie’s life from witnesses and the defendants themselves, led to the conclusion that the only people who could have inflicted this abuse were his parents, Michael Davis and Kayleigh Driver.

The prosecution case was that it had been Davis who had inflicted these injuries, including the assault that proved to be fatal. Davis had become increasingly impatient with Ollie’s needs and subjected him to a sustained period of severe physical abuse. Instead of prioritising his duties as a father, Davis spent much of his evenings and nights on his gaming console, before going to work during the day. The prosecution’s case was that this was a significant factor in him becoming violent towards Ollie.

Driver would have been aware of the abuse, yet chose not to take any reasonable steps to protect Ollie.

Following a ten-week trial at Leicester Crown Court, Davis was convicted of Ollie’s murder and two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Driver was convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child and causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm. Today on Wednesday 10 April, Davis was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 22 years and Driver was jailed for seven years imprisonment.

Andrew Baxter, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor from the CPS said: “Ollie Driver’s life was ended by his own father whilst his mother did nothing to protect him. Rather than care for and nurture their vulnerable young baby, this child was abused my Michael Davis repeatedly until he killed him. Kayleigh Driver chose to do nothing to stop the abuse. The final days of Ollie’s short, tragic life were filled with pain and distress.

“Rather than face up to their actions, both parents lied repeatedly about events, and have left it to a jury to determine the horrifying way they treated Ollie.

“Ollie’s death at such a young age came as a devastating shock to his extended family. Our thoughts and sympathies are with them.”

Building the case

Evidence from medical experts showed that Ollie had suffered a succession of injuries inflicted on multiple occasions.

Neither defendant blamed the other, but both denied responsibility. Cases of this nature present unique challenges. It was up to the prosecution to present evidence in the clearest possible way for the jury to determine the defendants’ respective parts in Ollie’s death.

The defendants were each charged with murder, with the alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of a child to ensure the jury could find either defendant criminally responsible for Ollie’s death, even if they did not cause his fatal injuries directly.

One particular injury was significant, a broken rib. While this did not cause Ollie’s death directly, it was inflicted only hours before he died or around the same time. The prosecution’s case was that it could only have been Davis who had caused that injury. The CPS presented evidence that it was not possible for this injury to have been inflicted accidentally through CPR.

Both defendants gave different accounts in their interviews with police to what they told the jury, which the prosecution argued showed they were not telling the truth. Evidence of their behaviour patterns and about their actions described as unfolding helped clarify the events of the last few days of Ollie’s life.

Davis was spending nights awake on his gaming console and working by day. He denied any fatigue, but the prosecution argued that this left him unable to manage the complex demands of a young baby requiring feeding, changing and winding at all hours of the night, to the extent that he lashed out at Ollie.

The CPS also outlined Davis’s actions when Ollie was discovered. Rather than raising the alarm immediately, Davis claimed he tried CPR for 15 minutes before summoning help. The prosecution argued that this was the act of someone who knew he was responsible for what had happened.

Driver claimed she was asleep when Ollie was in Davis’s care and had no knowledge of any assaults. The prosecution argued that it would have been impossible to be unaware of the assaults and Ollie’s subsequent injury and distress.

As more evidence was given throughout the course of the trial, the events that led to Ollie’s death became clearer. The prosecution presented the jury with the case that Davis had assaulted Ollie and that Driver had chosen not to take any action to protect Ollie from the abuse, either by ending the relationship with Davis or by seeking help for Ollie.

Notes to editors

Further reading

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