Age: 4 months
Date: 6 Feb 2010
Scott Cawthorne died after being shaken on 6 February 2010.
A 20-year-old man was charged with his murder, but the charge was later reduced to manslaughter although he was acquitted at Nottingham Crown Court in November 2013. The man had been 16-years-old at the time and had been baby-sitting for Scott Cawthorne's mother who had three children after her partner left her.
It was heard that Scott Cawthorne's mother had gone out shopping on 3 February 2010 leaving the man to look after Scott Cawthorne and that when she returned, she found that Scott Cawthorne was being taken away in an ambulance.
Scott Cawthorne died three days later on 6 February 2010 from a catastrophic head injury.
The man said whilst he had been looking after Scott Cawthorne that he had gone to the toilet and that when he returned, he found Scott Cawthorne having a fit.
At the trial it was heard that Scott Cawthorne's mother, who was 28-years-old had been having a sexual relationship with the man after Scott Cawthorne's death, but she said that she had only met up with the man in order to try and find out more about what had happened to Scott Cawthorne and that they had stopped seeing each other on 20 March 2010 after she could find out nothing about it from him.
However, the man said that they had only met to have sex and had never talked about Scott Cawthorne's death.
Evidence showed that Scott Cawthorne's mother and the man had sent each other 73 text messages and that between 13 February 2010 and 8 March 2010 that they had made numerous calls to each other, some lasting two hours.
The man added however, that Scott Cawthorne's mother had told him to tell the police that they were not having a sexual relationship and that he had only looked after Scott Cawthorne once and that he had only lived with her at her house for a couple of weeks. However, it was later heard that the man had been living with Scott Cawthorne's mother at her house for several months and that he had moved in after he had had a falling out with his parents who lived next door.
It was noted that Scott Cawthorne's mother had not disclosed the fact that the man had been living with her to the authorities and that when she was questioned by a social worker and health visitor on 3 February 2010 after Scott Cawthorne was taken to hospital, she had told them that the man had only been living with her for a couple of days. When the woman was asked why she had said that she said, 'I just wanted to keep my children'.
When the man was questioned by the police, he told them that he had met with Scott Cawthorne's mother 'loads of times', in places such as woodlands and graveyards and other places, including Skegby Box. However, Scott Cawthorne's mother only admitted to having met the man once, and that was on an occasion when she was stopped on her way to meet the man by the police on 23 February 2010 when she had arranged to meet him in Healdswood School park at 2am.
The court heard that they would arrange to meet by text messages and by telephone and that they would both initiate the meetings, with the man saying that their meetings were only for sex and that they didn't discuss Scott Cawthorne's death.
When the man was asked whether Scott Cawthorne's mother ever asked him if he was responsible for Scott Cawthorne's death, he replied, 'No'.
The man said that Scott Cawthorne's mother would tell him by text message that she loved him, but said that he didn't know if he loved her. He added that they would send text messages of a sexual nature to each other and talk about 'day to day stuff' over the phone. He said that Scott Cawthorne's mother had told him to delete the text messages that she had sent him, but the court heard that the police had been able to recover some.
The court heard that one of the text messages read, 'I miss you and can’t wait for all this mess to be sorted out'.
The prosecution claimed that Scott Cawthorne's mother had been in bits following Scott Cawthorne's death, but the man said , 'Not in front of me she wasn’t', noting that she didn't seem very upset to him and that she didn't seem 'desperate' to find out what had happened to Scott Cawthorne.
However, it was also noted that Scott Cawthorne's mother and the man had been banned from contacting each other following Scott Cawthorne's death as part of their bail conditions.
However, the prosecution said that Scott Cawthorne's mother had been stringing the man along in order to find out what had happened to Scott Cawthorne which was why their relationship suddenly stopped on 20 March 2010, it being inferred that she had found out then that it was him that was responsible for Scott Cawthorne's death. When the prosecution put it to the man that 'It was because she had worked out who had killed her baby and it was you', the man replied, 'No'.
Scott Cawthorne's mother said that she continued to communicate with the man even though she was not allowed under the conditions of their bail because she wanted to find out what happened to Scott Cawthorne, saying 'I knew I was not getting the full story because the story was the same each time'. She said that the messages that she sent him about meeting up for sex were devised to give the man 'false hope’ and to ‘keep him on board’.
The prosecution also stated that the reason that the man had not tried to blame Scott Cawthorne's mother for the death was because he knew that she was not responsible, but he denied that also.
The man added, 'I am not going to admit to something that I have not done'.
The prosecution said that the inference was that Scott Cawthorne's mother had caused the injuries to Scott Cawthorne and had then gone out to the shops, leaving Scott Cawthorne 'on the path to death'. The prosecution said that that would be truly wicked and noted that the man had already admitted that Scott Cawthorne's mother didn't have a wicked bone in her body. However, the man replied, 'But she has blamed me'.
Scott Cawthorne's mother had told the court that she had felt comfortable in leaving her two son's with the man and said that he had been comfortable handling Scott Cawthorne and that she had never had occasion to feel that something was not right about the arrangement.
When Scott Cawthorne's mother was interviewed, she told the police 'The only thing he did wrong around the children was occasionally swear. He was quite good at looking after children and there was nothing to cause me concern'.
When Scott Cawthorne's mother was asked whether she had lost her temper with Scott Cawthorne and had then tried to cover it up, she said, 'I would never lose my temper with a child. Not for one second'.
The man was acquitted of the murder at Nottingham Crown Court on 13 November 2013 after which the police said that they would not be re-opening the case.
The jury took less than two hours to return their unanimous not guilty verdict.