Childminder Karen Foster admits killing baby boy by 'forceful shaking' him to death in 'frustration'

7 June 2024, 16:10 | Updated: 7 June 2024, 16:16

By Charlie Duffield

Harlow was described as a 'healthy and happy boy' before the traumatic injuries he experienced
Harlow was described as a 'healthy and happy boy' before the traumatic injuries he experienced. Picture: Lancashire Police

A childminder has pleaded guilty to killing a nine-month-old baby boy in her care by 'forceful shaking'.

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Karen Foster, 62, was arrested on suspicion of murder after emergency services were called to an address in Hampton, Lancashire, on March 1, 2022.

Baby Harlow Collinge died as a result of "forceful shaking" after he fell out of his high chair and started crying.

Emergency services were sent to the address following reports a child had collapsed.

Harlow was taken to hospital and was later transferred to Manchester Children's Hospital.

He died of his injuries four days later.

Foster had previously denied murder, with the prosecution today accepted her manslaughter plea ahead of her trial at Preston Crown Court.

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Childminder Karen Foster
Childminder Karen Foster. Picture: Lancashire Police

She claims the crying child let her to shake him in "frustration", the basis for her manslaughter plea.

Harlow had been dropped off at the defendant's address in Hapton on 1 March 2022.

She called 999 and said to the operator that Harlow was not breathing, before informing the paramedic that he had suddenly collapsed.

The court heard how a CT scan of the infant's head revealed significant brain injuries, with bleeding on both sides and swelling.

Harlow had been described as a "healthy and happy boy" before the traumatic injuries he experienced.

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Mr Justice Cotter spoke to the defendant following her plea, saying: "I am sure you have been advised that the likely sentence is one of a substantial period in custody and you should be well aware of that."

Foster has nine years of experience as a registered childminder and will be kept further in custody before sentencing next Thursday.

She also faced a further allegation of assaulting a two-year-old girl who was in her care in 2019.

The prosecution told the judge it will ask for that count to lie on file.

Foster has been remanded in custody and will return to court on Thursday, June 13 for sentencing.

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