Kayden Walker's mother jailed for 'allowing death' of baby son
A mother convicted of allowing the death of her baby son at the hands of his father has been jailed for 18 months after a judge told her she had ‘failed to heed warning signals’.
Laura Davis, aged 25, should have foreseen the risk posed to six month old Kayden Walker by her boyfriend Ricky Walker when he speculated aloud about suffocating the child.
There had also been previous incidents of violence in the home.
Kayden was found collapsed by paramedics at the family’s council flat on the Bilston-Darlaston border on June 12, 2016.
He died later in hospital.
Ricky Walker, 26, was cleared last month of his murder, but found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for six years.
The jury heard he had vigorously shaken the child as well as causing an injury to the head.
There was also evidence that Kayden suffered brain damage from a head injury some weeks earlier.
Walker had claimed he left his son in a bouncy chair feeding from a bottle propped up by his hoodie being used as a blanket.
He said he had returned to find Kayden had slipped under the cover and was floppy.
Weeks earlier Walker had suggested when a blanket covering the boy while he slept rose over his face: “Let’s see how long it takes for him to suffocate.”
Davis had reproached him but the judge said she should have told the police about the comment when she was interviewed following Kayden’s death.
“You failed to take such steps as you could reasonably have been expected to take to protect Kayden from that risk,” Judge Stephen Morris told her.
“You failed to raise many of these matters and to ensure that Ricky Walker was not left alone in the flat with Kayden on the morning of June 12, 2016.”
Davis, who was not at home at the time of the incident, maintained her innocence throughout the six-week trial. Her sentencing was postponed until today for probation and medical reports to be prepared.
Mr David Mason, QC, prosecuting, argued that she was aware of the serious risk to the infant posed by Walker because of previous incidents at their two bedroom home in Walnut Close, Moxley, and ought to have seen the danger to him.
Defending her, Mr Gary Bell, QC, said she had been diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia and a personality disorder after a mental breakdown in 2010 and had ‘poor coping strategies’.
Since her conviction, she has been shunned by her community and recently been beaten up in the street. She was also self-harming as a way of coping, he told Birmingham Crown Court.
But the judge said he could not suspend a prison term in her case.
“The death of a child is always distressing and shocking – the thoughts of a life not lived stay with us all. However words cannot adequately express the tragedy of the death of an innocent, very young child at the hands of a parent in whose care that child has been placed,” said Judge Morris.
“Appropriate punishment for this offence of allowing the death of a very young child can only be achieved by immediate custody.”
Her mother and sister, who were in the public gallery broke down in tears as her sentence was passed.
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