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Mistakes that convicted innocent babysitter – Suzanne Holdsworth (2005)

Screenshot of a news report found on YouTube showing Suzanne Holdsworth as she is freed Screenshot of a news report found on YouTube showing Suzanne Holdsworth as she is freed
Suzanne was convicted in 2005 at Teeside Crown Court of killing a two-year-old child, Kyle Fisher, by banging his head against a banister. A much respected person who was frequently called upon to look after children, Suzanne was convicted only because the death of Kyle was said by ‘experts’ to have been caused during the time when he was in her care.

Friends, including members of Kyle’s own family, believe her conviction to have been a gross miscarriage of justice. At her appeal on 1 May 2008, Henry Blaxland QC (instructed by solicitor Campbell Malone) presented fresh medical evidence. Her conviction was overturned and a retrial ordered.

The retrial ended on 18 December 2008 with Suzanne found not guilty.

Suzanne’s case was supported by INNOCENT and Yorkshire and Humberside Against Injustice.

January 13 2009

To the chairman of Cleveland Police Authority

Dear Mr McLuckie,

After the jury’s unanimous acquittal of  my partner Suzanne Holdsworth on 18th December 2008 for the murder of Kyle Fisher, Cleveland’s Chief Constable Sean Price told the media: ‘I can’t criticise my officers for doing their job.’ We criticise the Chief Constable for that statement and ask for an inquiry into both murder investigations by Cleveland Police following Kyle’s tragic death in July 2004.

We accuse Cleveland Police of basic failings in routine police work:

  • firstly, a failure to properly investigate the eye and brain injury, caused while Kyle was in the care of his mother, Clare Fisher, a year before;
  • secondly, a failure to do a DNA test on the alleged murder weapon, a banister in our home;
  • thirdly, a failure to take statements from two surgeons who planned to operate on Kyle, a failure specifically complained about by former Acting Detective Sergeant Sharon Birch; a failure to investigate Kyle’s five brain abnormalities, none of which were identified by Cleveland Police as potential causes of death.

We note reporting on BBC Newsnight and Private Eye about a alleged and disputed phone call between brain surgeon Sid Marks and Detective Constable Paul Hook. Mr Marks says he has no recollection of the call and would not speak to a stranger about the death of a patient.

We note the allegation in Private Eye that £54,000 of cannabis resin was found in the boot of a car belonging to ‘the gormless rozzer’ Paul Hook. We do not understand how the word of such an officer could be trusted over the word of a brain surgeon. We ask you to investigate the disputed phone call, too.

Cleveland is a small place and Cleveland Police is an extremely small force which, in 2004, at the time of the first murder inquiry, was under threat of closure. We are copying this letter to the chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Chief Inspector of Constabulary. Suzanne spent three years in prison for a crime that never happened thanks to the many failures of Cleveland Police.

Lee Spencer (Suzanne’s partner)

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About INNOCENT (125 Articles)
Challenging miscarriages of justice since 1993.

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