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Sheppey mother and boyfriend jailed over death of five-month-old Eli Cox who suffered ‘catastrophic brain injuries’

PUBLISHED: 16:59 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 14 November 2017

Katherine Cox

Katherine Cox

Archant

Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd were sentenced on Tuesday after being convicted in August

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 jailed 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 in August.

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.”

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.

Both Cox, a mum-of-nine, 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.

On Tuesday, Cox was jailed for eight years and Shepherd for 13-and-a-half years.

Senior investigating officer detective chief inspector 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.”

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