The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Baby Finley ‘plainly dying’ yet parents did nothing

Drug-addicted mother and father given life sentences for inflicting 130 injuries on 10-month-old

- By Will Bolton and Patrick Sawer

A 10-MONTH-OLD baby boy was “plainly dying” after being subjected to “unimaginab­le cruelty” and yet his drug-addicted parents did nothing, a judge has said.

Shannon Marsden and Stephen Boden inflicted “vicious and repeated assaults” on their son, Finley Boden, in just over a month in their squalid home near Chesterfie­ld, Derbys.

Yesterday, Marsden and Boden were handed life sentences with respective minimum terms of 27 and 29 years at Derby Crown Court.

Relatives of Finley described the couple as “monsters” and said they would never forgive the couple for what they had done while promising never to forget the “happy, chuckling baby”.

The court heard the couple had told a “series of persistent lies” to win back their child after he was taken away by social services days after his birth over concerns about their cannabis use.

It was previously revealed, following a legal challenge by The Daily Telegraph, the BBC and the Press Associatio­n, that despite lying to social workers about the amount of marijuana they were using, magistrate­s ruled Finley should be returned to the couple and they did not need to undergo drug tests.

Magistrate­s also rejected a plea from social workers that Boden and Marsden undergo a four-month supervised transition to establish if they were truly capable of looking after Finley. Instead, they ordered a two-month transition plan, which they said was a “reasonable and proportion­ate length of time” to protect the baby’s welfare. Within weeks, Finley suffered a horrendous catalogue of injuries at their hands.

The baby was found to have 71 bruises and 57 fractures after he died on Christmas Day 2020, 39 days after Derby family court returned him to the couple’s care.

Sentencing them, Ms Justice Amanda Tipples, said: “You both knew that Finley was very seriously ill and dying ... yet you deliberate­ly failed to seek any medical help for him and you made sure that he was not seen by anyone that could have rescued him and taken him away from your care.

“He was subject to repeated abuse on multiple occasions ... Finley’s daily experience was one of considerab­le pain, distress and suffering.

“It was obvious to both of you by Dec 16 that Finley was very seriously injured, and he was utterly miserable.

“He was no longer able to sit up and play with his toys. He was unable to feed himself.”

She added: “By the evening of December 23 he was plainly dying. There was nothing subtle about this at all. It was plainly obvious to both of you.”

The pair showed no emotion and remained silent during sentencing, while family members wept in the public gallery.

Among the “savage” injuries inflicted on the child was a broken pelvis possibly from sustained “kicking or stamping”, with injuries likened to a multi-storey fall.

He also had two burns on his left hand, one “from a hot, flat surface”, the other probably “from a cigarette lighter flame”. As their son’s condition deteriorat­ed, Boden, 30, and Marsden, 22, hid him from social workers and family members for the last month of his life despite them making several attempts to see him.

Boden, who has 22 previous conviction­s, texted a cannabis dealer two days before his son died, stating he wanted to “bounce [Finley] off the walls”.

 ?? ?? Bacari-Bronze O’Garro, 18, known as Mizzy, being arrested yesterday on suspicion of breaching a criminal behaviour order
Bacari-Bronze O’Garro, 18, known as Mizzy, being arrested yesterday on suspicion of breaching a criminal behaviour order
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 ?? ?? Shannon Marsden and Stephen Boden subjected their child to repeated abuse
Shannon Marsden and Stephen Boden subjected their child to repeated abuse
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