Friday, July 26, 2013

Coroner: Dad lied about how 17-month-old daughter died while in his "sole care" (United Kingdom)

Is dad PAUL FRETWELL a single or custodial father? Notice that this toddler was in the "sole care" of her father at tht tme of her fatal head injury, and that there is no mention of a mother in the home...or anywhere else.

Coroner to contact prosecutors over inquest into death of child

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Derby Telegraph

A CORONER is to write to prosecutors after ruling that a father lied about how his daughter died.

Paul Fretwell told an inquest that his 17-month-old daughter, Nina, died after falling down a small flight of stairs at their flat in Station Road, Ilkeston.

But, after hearing other evidence, deputy coroner Louise Pinder ruled that Mr Fretwell was hiding the truth and recorded an open verdict.

Mr Fretwell was arrested shortly after Nina died from a severe head injury in July 2010. But he was released because of a lack of evidence.

An inquest was held this week to establish the facts of the case.

And, following yesterday's verdict, a spokeswoman for Derby Coroner's Court confirmed that Miss Pinder planned to write to the Crown Prosecution Service to "inform them of the outcome".

Miss Pinder spent 15 minutes summing up the case before recording an open verdict. She said: "On the balance of probability and based on all the evidence, I conclude that the fatal head injury was not compatible with a fall down the stairs in the way that has been described.

"The precise circumstances of how Nina sustained a head injury while in the sole care of her father, however, remain unexplained.

"As the evidence I have heard at inquest has not fully or further disclosed how Nina died, I return in this case an open verdict.

"While this is clearly unsatisfactory for all parties involved as it leaves unanswered questions, it is the only appropriate verdict." Miss Pinder said that there were a number of reasons why she concluded Mr Fretwell had not told the truth.

She said tests had revealed Nina had suffered a series of "non-accidental" injuries in the weeks before her death and pointed out that Nina was "frightened" of stairs and so was unlikely to have gone near them.

Miss Pinder also said that Mr Fretwell had "changed his story" relating to how many stairs Nina had supposedly fallen from.

She added: "The space on the landing where he said he found Nina does not appear to be large enough for her to be in the position he later described."

Furthermore, Miss Pinder pointed out that Mr Fretwell had returned to the flat as his daughter lay critically ill "before police could secure the scene".

Following Miss Pinder's comments, the Crown Prosecution Service said: "We will await the report from the Coroner and will respond as appropriate to any issues raised."

A Derbyshire police spokesman said: "The case was thoroughly investigated. A file was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, which decided there was insufficient evidence to bring a criminal case against anyone."

Mr Fretwell refused to comment after the hearing.