Unsolved Murders

Kye Kerr

Age: 6 weeks

Sex: male

Date: 10 Jul 2011

Place: Meadow View, Harraby, Carlisle

Kye Kerr died from a heart attack and a fractured skull at his home in Meadow View, Harraby, Carlisle, on 11 July 2011.

His 33-year-old father was tried for his manslaughter at Liverpool Crown Court but was acquitted. However, it was noted that he was determined at a lower court to have been responsible for his death, it being noted that the lower court, a family court inquiry, was not required to make its findings beyond all reasonable doubt, but only on the balance of probabilities.

His parents said that they woke up to find Kye Kerr dead in his Moses basket with an unexplained mark on his head.

Kye Kerr's father said that he seemed fine about half an hour before he was found to be not breathing.

Two post mortems were carried out. The first post mortem ruled that the cause was 'unascertained' and that the parents 'were not responsible'.

However, the finding was reviewed by child protection workers eighteen months later and a second post mortem was carried out.

The second post mortem found that Kye Kerr had sustained a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.

The prosecution stated that the injury was likely to have been caused by a significant impact and that it showed signs of being non accidental.

A neurosurgeon suggested that the injury was caused by traumatic shaking.

Kye Kerr had been born two months prematurely and had been looked after by the hospital in their special care baby unit. However, two weeks before his death he was allowed home.

Kye Kerr's father said that he had heard Kye Kerr crying at 4.30am and had gone upstairs to get him. He said, 'I picked him up and gave him his dummy and he was chomping on it'.

He said that he then took him downstairs and sat down with him over his shoulder on the sofa until Kye Kerr fell asleep. He told a police sergeant, 'I was just looking at him and stroking the back of his hair'.

He said then, at 5.45am, he fed him for around half an hour and winded him a couple of times.

He said that he later went back upstairs to see him between 7.15am and 7.20am, stating, 'He seemed fine, he appeared to be breathing'. He said that he then went back downstairs.

He then said:

I went upstairs for the toilet at 7.45am to 7.50am and went back into the bedroom to check on Kye. He was lying on his back with his head on its side. I could see what looked like purple lines on Kye's face next to his right eye where he was lying into the mattress. My wife got up and said what's that mark. She said he was cold.

Medics were then called, but Kye Kerr died at 8.47am.

Although Kye Kerr's father was acquitted of manslaughter at the trial, it was noted that he had already been blamed by a civil court judge at a separate earlier hearing in the Family Division of the High Court for Kye Kerr's death, the judge concluding that he was responsible for his son's death, noting that the conclusion was clear. It was heard that the judge's conclusions were published on a legal web site, but that they had been kept under wraps until criminal proceedings concluded.

The judge found that Kye Kerr's father had first shaken Kye Kerr and then later struck his head against a hard surface.

The judge added, 'There is no reason to believe that the father intended any harm. It is likely that his actions were the result of tiredness and impatience with the many demands of such a small baby, leading to repeated loss of control'. However, the judge added, 'Instead of seeking help, he put him into his Moses basket in the bedroom, hoping that all would be well and determined to conceal what he had done'.

It the 21-page judgement, the judge stated:

Having considered all the available information, I have reached the clear conclusion that the father was responsible for both occasions of injury to K, and that the injuries on the second occasion caused K's death. On the first occasion, the father shook K in a manner clearly inappropriate for such a young baby. On the second, the father struck K's head against a hard surface with enough violence to fracture his skull and cause fatal brain injuries. He realised that K had been hurt, but instead of seeking help, put him in his Moses basket in the bedroom, hoping all would be well and determined to conceal what he had done.

It was noted that the Family Division of the High Court made decisions on the balance of probabilities whilst the criminal court required findings to be 'beyond all reasonable doubt'.

The family court inquiry had run alongside the criminal investigation and it was later stated that Kye Kerr's father had refused to take part in it.

The case was compared to that of Poppi Worthington.

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