The head and spine injuries that led to the death of a baby in Huthwaite were caused by shaking with excessive force, a medical expert has told a court.
Consultant paediatrician Dr Patrick Cartlidge, who has been a doctor for 33 years, was giving evidence on the sixth day of the trial of Scott Gladwin at Nottingham Crown Court.
Gladwin (20) denies the manslaughter of four-and-a-half-month-old baby Scott Cawthorne, who died on 6th February 2010.
The prosecution says Gladwin, who was only 16 at the time, ‘gripped and shook the baby’, causing a whiplash-type brain-injury that led to his death.
He had been left to care for him by Scott’s mother, Kelly Middleton, at her home on Woodland Avenue, while she went to the shops.
Dr Cartlidge was employed to give an overview of the baby’s injuries and to help with their likely cause and timing.
“In my opinion, the bottom line is that the head and spine injuries were caused non-accidentally by shaking, immediately before Scott became catastrophically unwell,” Dr Cartlidge told the court.
When asked about the likely amount of force needed to produce these injuries, he said: “Well beyond normal handling. If anyone saw what was happening, they would seek to stop it.”
The doctor ruled out suggestions made that the injuries could have been caused by Scott being ‘thrown playfully in the air’ earlier that day.
This was because they were so severe that the baby’s mother, Gladwin and a health visitor, who visited the baby’s home and saw Scott only 30 minutes before he fell ill, would have noticed something was wrong.
“There is no way Scott could have remained normal once these injuries had been sustained,” said Dr Cartlidge, who gave evidence by video-link from the University of Wales College Of Medicine in Cardiff where he is based.
“He would have been frighteningly unwell. He would have collapsed immediately after the injuries had been sustained.”
The doctor was also asked by Yvonne Coen QC (prosecuting) about other injuries sustained by baby Scott, including fractures of the ribs and bruising in the ears and on the chest.
He accepted it was possible that some of the fractures and bruising could have been caused by attempts to resuscitate Scott after he fell ill.
“There would have been near panic and some quick handling of the baby,” Dr Cartlidge said.
But he felt this was an unlikely explanation and stressed that even without the fractures and the bruising, his conclusion would still point to the baby having been shaken.
Also, there was bruising to the back of the ribcage, which would not have been caused by the chest compressions of resuscitation, he added.
When questioned by Shaun Smith QC (defence), Dr Cartlidge said it was not his role to decide who had done the shaking.
The trial continues.