Sheffield baby murder trial commences – Oliver Saxby QC defending

October 4, 2019

The trial of Jonathan Garner began yesterday at Sheffield Crown Court in front of Mr Justice Goss. Mr Garner is accused of murdering his ex-partner’s 23 month old daughter, Mia, in February 2014. Mia’s mother, Samantha Gregson, faces a charge of ‘causing or allowing’ Mia’s death.

The case is a complex one involving extensive medical evidence. In summary, the Crown allege that the original pathologists missed subtle injuries to the inside of Mia’s upper lips – consistent, fresh pathologists say, with Mia having been smothered. The Crown further assert that the original radiologists missed an old injury to Mia’s ankle. These features place a more significant focus on other injuries noted when Mia was admitted to hospital, the Crown say.

The criminal investigation follows on from related Family Court Proceedings at which a number of experts gave evidence including pathologists Dr Richard Shepherd, Dr Marta Cohen and Dr William Lawler.

Against Mr Garner, the Crown are calling expert evidence covering the following areas: 1) Radiology (relating to the old injury, and why it might have been missed by the original radiologists), 2) Cardiology (with a view to excluding arrhythmia as a cause of death), 3) Pathology (similarly, in order to exclude other natural causes of death, and also to assist with the other injuries found and their potential causes), 4) Odontology (on the question of the lip injuries, and the apparent coincidence between the injuries and the teeth themselves – implying a degree of compression), 5) Haematology, Histopathology and Toxicology (to exclude other natural causes of death) and 6) Paediatrics (on the issue of how it was that Mia died).

A number of issues arise including the possibility of injuries having been caused during attempts to resuscitate Mia and the relevance of SUDIC. In all, over 20 experts have been involved in the case. The trial is expected to last 6-8 weeks.

Oliver Saxby QC is leading Richard Thompson of Wilberforce Chambers, Hull. They are instructed by Baker and Copeman Solicitors, Hull.

Please use the links below for news coverage of the case:-

The Metro

BBC News

The Daily Mail

The Mirror