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Sheppey mother and boyfriend found guilty over death of five-month-old Eli Cox

PUBLISHED: 15:22 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:57 03 August 2017

Katherine Cox

Katherine Cox

Archant

Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd were found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child

Danny Shepherd Danny Shepherd

The mother of a five-month-old baby boy who was found with “catastrophic brain injuries” and cocaine in his system has been convicted today along with her boyfriend.

Katherine Cox, 33, and Danny Shepherd, 25, were arrested after Eli Cox died in hospital and were convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child on Thursday.

Two weeks earlier, little Eli had fallen ill at the family home in Lapwing Close, Minster.

A post-mortem revealed he had suffered a “catastrophic brain injury consistent with being shaken and hitting his head.”

Five wraps of amphetamine were found at the home of Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd Five wraps of amphetamine were found at the home of Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd

He was also found with 28 bone fractures, which doctors believed he suffered over a 10-week period, along with traces of cocaine and amphetamine in his system.

A Maidstone Crown Court jury heard how an ambulance was called to the family home on April 13 when Eli had stopped breathing.

He was rushed to Medway Maritime Hospital, where a paediatrician noticed a number of bruises, believed to have been caused intentionally.

Police were called in, and evidence from doctors revealed Eli’s brain injury must have happened moments before his collapse, while the broken bones may have been suffered during five separate incidents.

“It would have been obvious to the offenders that Eli was in pain,” a Kent Police spokesperson confirmed.

Both Cox, a mother to nine children, and Shepherd denied being users of cocaine and amphetamine, despite five wraps of the latter substance being found by police in a garden shed at their home.

A hair sample showed Eli had been “regularly exposed to amphetamine and occasionally exposed to cocaine”, the court heard.

Det insp Ivan Beasley said: `The death of a child is never anything less than tragic but the circumstances behind Eli Cox’s passing are especially upsetting for those of us who share a compassion for others.

“None of us will ever understand what compels people to cause harm to children, and it is unfortunately true to say that Eli suffered more than most and was robbed of his life before it had barely begun.

“Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd maintained their innocence throughout but the jury saw through their lies. Only they know the true extent of the abuse Eli was put through, which is simply unthinkable to most members of society including parents who would do anything to protect their children from harm.

“I strongly advise anyone who suspects a child is being neglected to call us on 101 or contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. Children who are being abused themselves can call Childline for support and advice on 0800 1111.”

Sentencing will take place on a date to be fixed for a psychiatric report to be prepared.

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