South Yorkshire couple in court over baby’s death

Court: News and reports from the law courts.
Court: News and reports from the law courts.
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A FORMER nursery worker and her partner appeared in court today in connection with the death of their baby daughter.

Mark Lackenby, aged 31, of High Street, Goldthorpe, was charged with the murder of one-month-old Ruby Lackenby, as well as grievous bodily harm with intent, following the infant’s death last year.

His partner Gemma Coates, also 31, is accused of perverting the course of justice. Coates used to work at the Sunny Bright Day Nursery in Sprotbrough, Doncaster.

Lackenby, a Network Rail worker, denied both charges against him during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court.

Coates, who is due to give birth to another child in two weeks, was not required to enter a plea.

Little Ruby died on February 17, 2011, and the pair were arrested in July.

Coates was suspended from working at the Doncaster nursery after the incident came to light.

Barnsley and Doncaster’s Safeguarding Children Boards - made up of bodies including the council, police and NHS - have also launched a joint investigation.

Coates has moved out of the home she shared with Lackenby, the court heard, and the pair have been granted bail.

Lackenby’s trial has been scheduled for October, following a further plea and case management hearing in September.