Chesterfield couple jointly accused of ‘savage and brutal’ murder of baby son – The Guardian

Prosecution says Stephen Boden and Shannon Marsden’s cruelty to 10-month-old Finley led to his death on Christmas Day 2020
A couple have been accused of working together in the “savage and brutal” murder of their 10-month-old baby who died on Christmas Day during the 2020 lockdown.
Stephen Boden, 29, and Shannon Marsden, 22, have denied charges of child cruelty and the murder of their son Finley Boden at their home in Old Whittington, Chesterfield.
Mary Prior KC, prosecuting, told a jury at Derby crown court that they would hear evidence that Finley was battered, bruised and burned by the couple in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
After Finley’s death, Boden was overheard saying he planned to sell the baby’s pram on eBay, something he later said was an attempt to lighten the mood.
In a police car hours after Finley’s death, officers were surprised to hear the couple talking about what they were going to eat that day, the jury heard.
Finley was born in February 2020 and did not go into the care of his parents because of social worker concerns. These included their heavy cannabis use, unhygienic house, and evidence of domestic violence.
“For the first nine months of his life, Finley was fit and well, safe and happy,” Prior said.
In November 2020, a family court ruled that Finley should live with his parents. “Within just 39 days of moving in with the defendants, Finley was dead,” Prior said. “The severity of the injuries showed that the violence used would have required considerable force.
“His parents, we say, worked together to hide the injuries from the social worker, from the health visitor and the police for their own self-centred reasons.”
Prior said the jury would hear and see evidence of multiple injuries to the baby. They included 71 bruises or abrasions, including circular bruises on his head that were consistent with being gripped using excessive force. Finley had 57 fractures to his bones, including his thigh, shin, shoulder, ribs and pelvis.
Jurors were shown images of two burns on Finley, one of which “probably came from a cigarette lighter flame”, said Prior. There were also pictures of stains of Finley’s blood on his clothes, his cot blanket, pillow and towel.
No medical help was sought for any of the injuries, Prior said. “If Mr Boden didn’t cause the injuries then it is plain Miss Marsden did. If Miss Marsden didn’t cause the injuries then it’s plain that Mr Boden did. We say that they both did, that they’re both responsible, acting together.”
Finley developed infections as a result of the fractures, including sepsis, and died in the early hours of Christmas Day.
Prior said the murder was “brutal and savage” and she was confident that the jury, after hearing the evidence, would find the couple committed the offence together. “Working together. Always together against anyone in authority who might have been able to help. They were in it together then and they’re in it together now.”
Boden, of Chesterfield, and Marsden, of no fixed address, deny murder, two counts of child cruelty, and two charges of causing or allowing the death of a child.
The trial continues and is expected to last six weeks.


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