Eight-week-old baby Amina-Faye parents jailed for a total of fifteen years after she died with more than 60 broken bones

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The ‘monstrous’ Rotherhithe couple, who abused their baby girl leaving her with more than 60 broken bones and then tried to blame her injuries on the paramedics who tried to save her, were jailed for a total of more than fifteen years.

Benjamin O’Shea, 26, of Dominion Drive in Rotherhithe and Naomi Johnson, 23, of Octavia Street in Battersea, were convicted of causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm in November last after a four-week trial. They were also found guilty of cruelty to a person under 16 in relation to a separate child.

Amina mum Naomi Johnson was sentenced to seven years and two months, while her father Benjamin O’Shea was sentenced to eight years and eight months inside.

Detective Inspector Melanie Pressley, who led the investigation said:  “Johnson and O’Shea have rightly been jailed for the monstrous abuse they subjected these children to.

“Throughout our investigation Johnson and O’Shea have been steadfast in their refusal to answer our questions.

“Thanks to the expertise of doctors who assisted us in this case, we know the trauma Amina-Faye suffered in her all too short life.

“Johnson and O’Shea betrayed everything that children deserve from adults.”

 

O’Shea and Johnson’s eight-week-old baby Amina stopped breathing on April 26, 2019. O’Shea called 999 and paramedics soon arrived to try to save his daughter’s life, but she died at the scene. There were no observable injuries and so the cause of her death was first thought to be Sudden Unexplained Death in Infants.

But a shocking post-mortem x-ray revealed more than 60 broken bones in Amina’s body, including 41 identified fractures to her ribs, front and back, as well as 24 limb bone fractures.

Doctors saw that the broken bones were likely to have been caused by continued physical abuse. Some of the fractures had begun to heal, suggesting a long pattern of cruelty.

A police investigation was launched on May 3 2019 and O’Shea and Johnson were arrested and questioned. They claimed that Amina had died because of an earlier visit to the GP and that her broken bones were caused by the paramedics.

Police spoke to medical experts as part of their investigation, who showed that the terrible injuries suffered by Amina must have taken place over a long period of time.

A professor of osteoarticular pathology found that the rib fractures had been sustained on at least two occasions and the limb bone fractures on at least seven occasions. He also found that the pattern of broken bones meant they could not have been caused accidentally.

When looking at Amina’s nervous system, investigators found evidence of a small, healed subdural haemorrhage – damage to a vein between the skull and the brain.

This was also supported by an investigation of her eyes that found evidence within the retina, extraocular muscles and orbital fat showing previous bleeding – but no evidence of recent retinal bleeding.

O’Shea and Johnson were re-arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm on September 11, 2019.

Police looked back through their text and call history as part of the investigation.

Detectives found Johnson made a call to NHS 111 in April 2019, the month when Amina died, where she reported that her baby had been coughing blood. When the doctor phoned back and told O’Shea to take Amina to hospital, O’Shea did not tell Johnson and the baby was not taken to the hospital.

In later police interviews, the pair both denied injuring the child.

In relation to the second child, who was known to the couple, detectives found texts between them where they both admit to slapping the child and treating them badly. Johnson said she had slapped the child three times and then only given them water until dinner. O’Shea told Johnson in a text of his difficulty at keeping calm after the child knocked over a drink in a fast food restaurant.

DI Pressley said after the judge delivered his sentence: “No jail term will ever be worth the life of baby Amina-Faye.  However, I hope that today’s sentence is a clear message that the children in this case mattered and those who think they can get away with inflicting such abuse will be punished.

“ I know I speak for everyone involved in this investigation when I say it has been truly heart-breaking to investigate and Amina Faye and the other child in this case will stay with us all.

“This trial has heard complex medical evidence and various points of law but at the heart of this case and our investigation, are two children. Two children that my team and I have worked tirelessly to get justice for and it is them that I am thinking of today.”

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