The trial of Kyle Campbell and Kayleigh Siswick was concluded at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday 13 June 2019.
Robert Smith QC and Ms Sharon Beattie conducted the prosecution. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder against Campbell and guilty in respect of an offence pursuant to section 5 Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act against the child’s mother, Kayleigh Siswick. Campbell was sentenced to a minimum term of 20 years’ imprisonment and Siswick to 7 years’ imprisonment.
The case involved a substantial body of expert medical evidence and was based on circumstantial evidence. The deceased child was only 3 years of age and had been subjected to a violent blow to the abdomen which had been delivered with such force that the duodenum was completely severed, resulting in the spillage of stomach contents into the peritoneal cavity and setting in train peritonitis and septicaemia which led to the child’s death 36 hours later.
The investigation proved to be very difficult and particularly complex in the absence of any admission by the defendants and their concealment of the child’s deterioration. He was to die in the family home without any medical assistance being sought for him. These circumstances, together with arguments that the injury may have been caused accidentally or have been due to disease, presented a challenging set of facts for the police investigation which began immediately but which stalled in 2016. The investigation was to be revived once the West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Investigation Team took the case over and passed it to the Crown Prosecution Service.
During the trial the jury heard from Dr Nigel Cooper, an independent forensic pathologist and from Mr Ian Sugarman, a leading gastro intestinal paediatric surgeon, together with an independent paediatrician, Dr Hilary Smith. Their evidence provided the necessary independent support for the opinions of the forensic and paediatric pathologists who had carried out the original post mortem examination.
Media coverage of the case can be found here: