Poppi Worthington

Father of deceased girl escapes prosecution while coroner rules toddler was sexually assaulted, suffocated to death in dad’s bed

The mother of a toddler found dead on her father’s bed in 2012 is apparently furious that he will not be charged with the child’s death after Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England threw out the case for the fourth time.

The Guardian reports that in January, a coroner concluded that 13-month-old Poppi Worthington was likely sexually assaulted shortly before she died on her father’s bed at his home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in December 2012. The cause of the child’s death was listed as “unsafe sleeping environment” next to her father, Paul Worthington, 49, which caused suffocation.

Since the child’s death, her mother, whose identity is hidden for “legal reasons,” has been pushing for prosecution against Worthington. She feels her child’s father not only sexually assaulted her, but purposely killed her afterward.

Previous evidence showed that Worthington watched pornography videos on his laptop on the night in question, while Poppi slept beside him. A Cumbria coroner later concluded that the little girl had been anally penetrated on or around the night of December 12, 2012, when she was in the care of her father.

“The latest inquest into Poppi’s death was the third time a court has found, on the balance of probabilities, that Poppi was sexually assaulted prior to death, and Poppi’s mother is extremely disappointed that this is not enough for the CPS to undertake a further review of the case,” the mother’s attorney, Fiona McGhie, said.

McGhie blamed the detectives handling the case of “botching” it, which ultimately led to lost evidence.

“The past five years have been a complete nightmare for her. Not knowing what happened to Poppi on that day, and knowing that there were evidence gathering failures by the police in the very early stages of the investigation, has made things even worse.”

Regardless, CPS stated there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Worthington. Unless new evidence submerges, the criminal case against Worthington will stay closed.

“No new evidence emerged which was capable of affecting the decisions not to prosecute. Accordingly there will not be a fourth full review of this case by the CPS. As in all cases, we would consider any future referrals from police should significant new evidence become available to them.”

[Feature Photo: Poppi Worthington/Family Handout]