Mother accused of 'savage and brutal' murder of baby son claims the boy's father killed him

8 November 2022, 14:05 | Updated: 8 November 2022, 14:17

The trial is taking place at Derby Crown Court
The trial is taking place at Derby Crown Court. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

A mother who is jointly accused of murdering her ten-month-old baby on Christmas Day allegedly claimed that the boy's father killed him and that she "didn't see it coming".

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Cannabis-smoking couple Stephen Boden, 29, and Shannon Marsden, 22, are accused of killing Finley Boden during the winter 2020 Covid lockdown - 39 days after he was placed back into their care.

Jurors at Derby Crown Court have already heard Finley was found with a series of "appalling" injuries, including two burns, one likely "from a cigarette lighter flame", 57 fractures - including to his collarbones, thighs, and pelvis - and 71 bruises, some up to two weeks old.

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Prosecutors said Boden and Marsden both killed Finley, and to this day remain "in it together". Both suspects deny murdering their son, who died at the family home in Chesterfield on December 25, 2020.

The court heard from social worker Jennifer Hancock on Tuesday, who told jurors about a call she had with Marsden on February 11 last year.

Both parents had already been arrested on suspicion of murdering Finley and released on bail with the condition that they did not contact each other while the police investigation was ongoing.

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Mary Prior KC, prosecuting, asked Ms Hancock on Tuesday how Marsden acted on the call, to which she replied: "She was irate, distressed, shouting, talking at great speed and swearing at me."

In the midst of the call, Mrs Hancock claimed she was asked by Marsden to pass on a message to another male family member, telling the social worker: "Tell him the full-on truth."

Mrs Hancock added Marsden then alleged Boden "killed" Finley and that she (Marsden) "didn't see it coming".

In the same conversation, Marsden claimed Finley "was beaten to death", Ms Hancock said.

Holland Road, where baby Finley died
Houses on Holland Road, where baby Finley died. Picture: Google Street View

Marsden also claimed in the call that Boden "was in contact with other women", telling one of them she (Marsden) "was dead", and also told his partner "he was going to leave" in the days before Finley's death, the jury heard.

Ms Prior asked the social worker: "Did she (Marsden) say anything else to you about how Mr Boden would talk to her?" Mrs Hancock said: "She did. When pregnant with Finley, which was unexpected, he told her to 'do what you like'."

The prosecutor then asked: "Did she tell you anything about how Mr Boden spoke about Finley?"

The social worker replied: "She told me he killed his own son... and that she was annoyed and stated Mr Boden had said to the police, he 'might have done it, he can't remember'."

Read more: Cannabis-taking mum and dad burnt and beat baby son in 'brutal' Christmas Day murder, court told

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Mrs Hancock said she continued supporting Marsden after her son's death, contacting the GP about her mental health, making regular check-ins, and also inquired about getting her help as a possible victim of domestic abuse.

The social worker said: "We were concerned about whether there was domestic abuse.

"She was referred through as high risk, and allocated an independent domestic high-risk advocate.

"They (the advocate) speak about safety plans, if somebody needs to go into a refuge, help them and just generally making sure the person is supported, if they wanted to report incidents."

Asked what Marsden's response to the domestic abuse support had been, Ms Hancock replied: "She declined the support, and she stated she hadn't suffered domestic abuse."

Last week jurors heard how on December 21, days before Finley's fatal collapse, Marsden is said to have messaged another relative saying: "Get the police to mine, tell them I'm scared of Stephen (Boden) around the baby.

"He's just hit me again... tell them he'll kill me. He just tried.

"Please, I will be dead. Not joking."

Boden and Marsden both deny murder, two counts of child cruelty, and two charges of causing or allowing the death of a child. The trial continues.