A jury at Plymouth Crown Court acquitted Erick Vanselow for baby’s death last year
A judge as ruled that a man who was previously cleared of beating his baby son until he was brain damaged DID cause the injury.
Last year, a jury at Plymouth Crown Court acquitted Erick Vanselow and decided that the baby’s mother, former University of Plymouth law student Elizabeth Wilkins, had caused a skull fracture to their son.
She was jailed for seven years, after her baby had suffered a number of injuries when he was a few months old in September 2016.
However, Lord Justice Baker, who analysed evidence at private family court hearings and was asked to make findings on the balance of probabilities, came to a different conclusion to the jury.
He concluded that Vanselow – not Wilkins, who is currently serving a seven-year jail sentence – was responsible for the boy’s head injury.
The judge first made the findings in late 2017, before the crown court trial, then reached the same conclusion this summer after reviewing the evidence.
He released his rulings on Tuesday after analysing arguments from lawyers and journalists about what the public should be told about the case.
Barrister Paul Storey QC, who led Wilkins’ legal team, said Lord Justice Baker’s rulings should be made public.
Court decided that the baby’s mother, former University of Plymouth law student Elizabeth Wilkins, had caused a skull fracture
He said both parents’ names should be included but not the name of the child.
But barrister Philip Conrath, who represented Vanselow, said his client’s name should not feature.
He said publication of the name might result in the child being identified.
Wilkins has not appealed against her conviction or sentence.
Mr Storey told Lord Justice Baker she had experienced difficulties raising funds to pay for lawyers who could mount an appeal on her behalf.
Lord Justice Baker has not, however, absolved Wilkins from any wrongdoing.
Wilkins, pictured outside Plymouth Crown Court during the trial, has not appealed against her conviction or seven-year sentence
The judge said he thought she had caused a serious injury to her baby’s eyes.
He also said he had been unable to decide whether Wilkins or Vanselow had been responsible for rib injuries.
The court trial last year heard that Wilkins and Vanselow met at university and started living together in 2014.
It also emerged that Wilkins had worked as an escort, posting suggestive pictures of herself on the internet and offering various sexual services with prices ranging from £95 to £850.
Speaking on Tuesday, Lord Justice Baker said, ‘This case involves serious and life-changing injuries sustained by a child in the care of his parents.
‘Although the law requires care proceedings to be held in private, it is in the public interest for judgments about such cases to be published wherever possible.
‘The facts of this case have already received very substantial publicity through press and broadcast reporting of the criminal trial. Although the child’s name was, very properly, not published in those reports, the names of both parents, as defendants in the criminal proceedings, were published.
‘The fact that the family court and the crown court have reached different conclusions as to the perpetrator of the head injury sustained by the child is itself a matter of public interest.
‘I do not propose to make any further comment about this outcome. I have, however, reached the very clear conclusion that it is not for this court to restrict public knowledge of this issue, or inhibit discussion of the wider consequences.’
It is thought to be the first time two people have been accused of harming a child and one has been convicted of an offence by a jury while the other has been blamed by a judge hearing evidence in parallel family court proceedings.
During the trial, Wilkins was assaulted outside the court during a lunch break. Her attacker, Claire Moore, was later ordered to pay her £50 in compensation.