Gosport baby death: Experts warn 'lessons must be learned' over death of infant Stanley in Gosport

LIES spun by a couple jailed over the death of a three-week-old infant have sparked a warning that ‘lessons must be learned’.

Saturday, 13th July 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 13th July 2019, 10:49 am
Samuel Davies

Both Roxanne Davis, 30, and her ex-partner Samuel Davies, 24, ‘set out to deceive’ police and health workers over baby Stanley’s death, a report found.

They were living together with the infant in a flat at Garland Court in Forton Road, Gosport. He suffered 40 fractures and a fatal skull fracture, dying in hospital seven days after being admitted.

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Couple jailed over baby’s death

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Roxanne Davis with baby Stanley Davis

Now a report addressing ‘abusive head trauma’ in babies and aimed at how professionals can improve has been published by the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board.

The report identified a safeguarding protocol used by professionals assessing infants’ bruising has been strengthened after the case.

A trial at Winchester Crown Court heard Stanley had a bruise over his ear thought to be ‘the first indication that Stanley might be at risk’. It was thought it was a birthmark but no check was done prior to him receiving the fatal injury.

It recommend the protocol - used with approximately 90 babies a year in Hampshire suspected to have bruises - is better promoted.

Patricia Stallard, executive lead member for children’s services, said: ‘Everything that needs to be done will be done.’

Sarra Gravestock, a director at Biscoes and solicitor with 14 years’ experience, said: ‘The death of a child at the hands of his or her carers is always tragic and lessons must be learned from Stanley’s death.

‘It remains crucial that information is recorded accurately by all professionals when a child presents with injuries, a failure to do can result in decisions being made which mean children are not safe.’

The report warns that a ‘parent’s explanations can be misleading’. It points out Davies ‘had a history of violence, substance abuse and mental ill-health’ and professionals knew he was in a relationship with pregnant Davis.

Assumptions were made that Davies was the father of baby Stanley, the report said. The father’s identity is not known.

Difficult adults must not put off professionals finding out ‘critical information’, the report added and said: ‘Showing professional curiosity can be challenging when faced with aggressive and unreliable adults, but those difficult questions might reveal critical information.’

An NSPCC spokeswoman said the case was ‘deeply disturbing’ and added: ‘What’s now important is that the recommendations within this report are swiftly implemented and that actions including an update to bruising protocol provide the desired outcome.’

The report, which anonymises the couple and the infant, said: ‘They set out to deceive professionals from police and health, deliberately concealing critical facts about their behaviour and treatment of (the baby).’

Stanley died of a fatal skull fracture and brain haemorrhage on March 28, 2017.

Derek Benson, chairman of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board, said the points raised from an as yet unpublished serious case review were for health professionals.