A mum-of-nine and her boyfriend have been jailed for nearly 22 years for causing the death of her baby boy from a massive head injury.
Danny Shepherd, 26, was jailed for 13-and-a-half years yesterday and Katherine Cox, 33, was sent to prison for eight years.
Five-month-old Eli Cox was found to have 28 fractures all over his tiny body and had also been exposed to drugs – as well as suffering the catastrophic brain injury.
Shepherd and Katherine Cox, now of Faversham, Kent, denied causing or allowing the death of a child between April 12 and 28 last year and causing or allowing physical harm to a child.
They also denied possessing the Class B drug amphetamine on April 14, but a jury convicted them of all charges in August.
A medical expert said the 28 fractures of varying ages to 19 bones were consistent with being “twisted, pulled, crushed and bent in half”.
Eli suffered extensive brain damage consistent with shaking and caused by a prolonged period of insufficient oxygen to the brain.
It was suggested the injuries were inflicted on many different occasions leading up to the child’s collapse on Wednesday, April 13 last year.
He died two weeks later.
Shepherd, known as Pickle, and Cox were the only adults in the four bedroom house on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, at the time of the collapse.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Eli suffered the fatal injuries and the maximum sentence Cox and Shepherd faced was 14 years.
Jennifer Knight prosecuting said: “It was the actions of one of them that resulted in the catastrophic brain injury that Eli Cox suffered that day.
“Both were aware in the weeks leading up to April 13 and on the day of his death that Eli Cox was at serious risk of physical harm.
“The events of that day were clearly the unhappy culmination of injuries Eli Cox suffered on many occasions.
“There is a blatant and deliberate disregard for the welfare of the child by both defendants.”
Shepherd has faced violence from other inmates in prison while awaiting sentence, because of the nature of his crime.
He had been “battered” in prison locally and would have to serve his sentence some distance from home and hope other inmates did not find out why he was in jail.
Nadine Radford QC defending Shepherd told the judge: “Our instructions remain the same. He has dealt with the matter in the same way from beginning to end.
“He doesn’t accept any responsibility for it. He doesn’t accept any knowledge of the drugs found on his premises.”
Oliver Saxby QC defending Cox said she was categorised by other prisoners as a certain type of offender, which was brutal for her.
The judge said it was an emotional trial and asked those in the packed public gallery to exercise restraint when the passed sentence.
Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said he sentenced Cox on the basis she did not take part in inflicting any injuries on Eli but was aware of the risk Shepherd posed by the time of the last harm on April 13.
He said of Shepherd: “Overall, he knows what he has done. It is not that he is not remorseful, he is not prepared to face up to what he has done.”
Following the trial, Kent County Council confirmed it would carry out a Serious Case Review to establish if Eli’s death could have been prevented.
Such reviews are carried out if abuse or neglect is thought to have been a factor in the death of a child, but the results of the process are not expected to be known until next year.
A Kent County Council spokesman said: “The Serious Case Review was not scheduled to be undertaken before the end of the court case, and is unlikely to be completed before February at the earliest.”