12:12PM, Tuesday 26 January 2016
The trial of a mother from Old Windsor accused of causing or allowing the death of her child just days before her second birthday began at Guildford Crown Court yesterday (Monday).
Kirsty Lee, of Grove Close, appeared in court over the death of Cara Lee-Fanus, who was left brain dead from a severe head injury and died on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
Lee is also accused of causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Alistair Bowen, Lee’s former boyfriend, had faced the same charges over the toddler’s death but the court heard how he had killed himself in July.
Jurors were told how Bowen admitted in a suicide note that he inflicted two burn marks on Cara’s torso. He did not admit responsibility for causing her fatal head injury.
The court heard that Cara was taken to Chertsey’s St Peter’s Hospital in an ‘unconscious and floppy state’ just before 3pm on Wednesday, May 28.
A CT scan revealed the toddler had been severely shaken or smothered. She also had 21 different injury marks including two distinctive burns which appeared to have been caused by someone holding a hairdryer close to her skin.
Cara was transferred to St George’s Hospital in Tooting but her life-support machine was switched off the following day with doctors unable to save her.
The court heard how Lee’s former boyfriend, Alistair Bowen, had been looking after Cara the evening before the youngster was admitted to hospital while Lee was working a night shift at Heathrow Airport.
When Lee returned from work the following morning at 10am Cara was still asleep. At 1pm Bowen said he thought the child had been asleep for too long and she was rushed to hospital.
Prosecuting, Dianne Chan, said that Cara’s burn marks pre-dated her head injury and Lee should have sought medical treatment.
She told the court: “Whichever person caused the burns, the other one must’ve known.”
Appearing via video link, Catherine Lee, Cara's grandmother, wept as she told the court she had looked after the youngster and bathed her on Tuesday, May 20 and had not noticed any burn marks.
The court heard how Lee told doctors that Cara’s head injuries were caused by a shower head falling on her.
But Neil Stoodley, a consultant neurologist, said the injuries were the result of an ‘abusive head trauma’.
Cara’s father, Sean Fanus, told the court that when he arrived at his child’s bedside, Lee kept saying ‘our beautiful baby has gone’.
He said: “I said to her even if it’s the worst thing you could possibly tell me just say something but she didn’t say a word.”
The trial continues.
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