Live-in boyfriend ‘can’t explain’ how 12-week-old baby Teddy was beaten dead while in his care

A 31-year-old man has been found guilty of murder, following the death of his girlfriend’s baby, Teddy, who was found with severe injuries.

Cambridge Independent reports that Kane Mitchell was babysitting the infant while his girlfriend, Lucci Smith, 29, attended school in early November 2019. The pair lived together in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, England.

During a four-week trial at Cambridge Crown Court, prosecutors laid out details on how the baby had trauma to his head from Mitchell hitting it against a hard surface. Mitchell is also accused of shaking the baby and gripping him too hard.

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After Smith returned home from school on the day in question, she noticed her son seemed unusually lethargic and refused to take his bottle. She contacted the baby’s pediatrician, who advised her to call 999, but Smith apparently waited around 30 minutes before calling.

Teddy was eventually taken to the Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, where doctors said the baby had severe brain bleeding and a fractured skull. Both Mitchell and Smith were arrested at the hospital under suspicion of child abuse and neglect.

Kane Mitchell and Lucci Smith [Cambridgeshire Police]
BBC reports that the infant also had a collarbone fracture and rib fractures, which “would have led to Teddie screaming in pain… up to a point when he would have become unconscious,” jurors heard.

Doctors later said Teddy would likely never recover. After several weeks on life support, he passed away on November 11, 2019. An autopsy reported indicated that the skull fracture and lack of oxygen caused the infant’s death.

During trial, the jury heard from neighbors that the couple argued non-stop after Mitchell had moved in. During a police interview, however, Smith claimed she was in a caring relationship with Mitchell and hardly ever argued with him.

Social workers indicated that Mitchell had previously punched Smith, which led to a social worker being assigned in September 2019.

Mitchell told police he thought the baby was his, although a DNA test taken after Teddy died showed that Mitchell wasn’t the biological father.

He also claimed he had no idea how the baby developed the injuries and couldn’t explain it, although he was the sole caregiver during the time Teddy was injured. Smith, too, said she couldn’t explain the injuries.

It took the jury two days to return a guilty verdict. Mitchell was convicted of murder while Smith was convicted of child neglect for “failing to act once it was obvious that Teddie was very seriously ill.”

The pair are scheduled for sentencing on February 5.

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[Featured Photo: Teddy/Cambridgeshire Police]