South Yorkshire man jailed for 12 years for killing baby

James Larkin
James Larkin

A South Yorkshire man who killed a baby has been jailed for 12 years.

James Larkin, aged 26, who was found guilty of manslaughter after a trial, was jailed today over the death of his partner Laura Ostle's 11-week-old baby, Christopher, in 2014.

Laura Ostle

Laura Ostle

Ostle, 21, formerly of Dunscroft, Doncaster, was jailed for 18 months for perverting the course of justice after she concocted a story with Larkin to try to explain the baby's injuries.

Larkin, of Coppice Road, Highfield, Doncaster, was accused of shaking the baby after discovering that he was not the father.

Tests revealed the baby suffered chronic bleeding on his brain, consistent with being shaken or suffering a heavy impact with a soft surface such as a mattress.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Larkin and Ostle had a 'dysfunctional' relationship.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Stopford, said: "The sentences passed today can never bring back the young life that was taken, but I am pleased that both Larkin and Ostle are behind bars.

“This has been a lengthy and upsetting investigation for all concerned and I repeat my thanks to the members of the jury, who had to sit through weeks of distressing medical evidence and to the officers in this case, who have worked tirelessly to get justice for the young victim.”

An NSPCC spokesman said: “Baby Christopher was tragically failed by the very two people who should have been protecting him and keeping him safe.

“Not only did Larkin shake Christopher so hard he suffered unsurvivable injuries, his own mother helped to cover up the truth about what happened to him.

“The life of a defenceless 11-week old baby has been needlessly cut short and the sentences handed down today reflect the seriousness of these crimes.

“Public awareness of the fragility of babies and the lifelong - or tragically life-ending - consequences of shaking is essential."