Babysitter accused of toddler murder

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The Independent Online

A babysitter murdered a toddler by repeatedly smashing his head against bannisters in her home, a court heard today.



Kyle Fisher was two when he was attacked by his minder, Suzanne Holdsworth, at her house in Hartlepool in July 2004, Teesside Crown Court heard.



The jury was told the hearing was a retrial, which explained why the case was more than four years old.



Holdsworth, 38, wept as the jury were shown photographs of the little boy's head injuries.



The pictures showed "unusual bruising" to his scalp, which matched the bannisters in her home, Andrew Robertson QC, prosecuting, told the jury.



He said the child was in a crawling position when he was gripped by the neck and shoulders, then had the top of his head banged several times against the bannister.



"This was a significant injury caused by blunt force," he said.



The prosecution did not allege she set out to kill the toddler when he was in her sole care, but that she lost her temper.



His mother, Clare Fisher, was 19 at the time, unmarried and intimidated by Holdsworth, whom she had befriended.



She was out in Hartlepool town centre when her son collapsed at Holdsworth's home in Millpool Close, at around 11.30pm on July 21.



He suffered irreparable brain damage and his ventilator was switched off in hospital two days later.



The Crown said that, days earlier, Ms Fisher went out for the night and left her son alone.



Holdsworth found out and threatened to tell Ms Fisher's mother, who was on holiday.



The defendant used that threat to make Ms Fisher tell police a series of lies after Kyle collapsed, the jury heard, about who had been looking after him.



But when it became clear he was dying, the young mother changed her story and told police the truth, the court heard.



Holdsworth, a mother of two daughters, now living in Boggart Hill Drive, Seacroft, Leeds, denies murder.



The case continues and is expected to last three weeks.