Man charged over death of Doncaster baby boy, aged three months

Doncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary
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The tragic death of a baby boy has sparked a serious case review after a Doncaster man was charged with manslaughter.

Christopher Larkin, aged three months, died in hospital the day after emergency services were called to reports he was suffering from a suspected heart attack. This latest serious case review comes after Doncaster’s independent Children’s Services Trust was rated as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted inspectors last month.

James Larkin, aged 25, of Broadway, Dunscroft, is due to appear at crown court in the New Year charged with manslaughter and perverting the course of justice.

Appearing alongside him will be Laura Ostle, of the same address, who is charged with perverting the course of justice.

A police spokesman said: “Emergency services were called to a property in Broadway, Dunscroft, at 7.45am on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 following reports a three-month-old baby boy, Christopher Larkin, was suffering from a suspected cardiac arrest.

“After initially being taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, the baby was transported to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he sadly died the next day.”

Larkin and Ostle appeared before Doncaster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, November 27 this year.

Doncaster Safeguarding Children’s Board confirmed a serious case review had been launched after baby Christopher’s death.

A spokesman for the Board said: “The death of any child is a tragedy. The circumstances surrounding the death of the child are being investigated by the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board as part of a serious case review.

“The review will be published following court proceedings. We cannot comment further on this case until the outcome of the court proceedings is known.”

In March 2009, the government ordered a takeover of Doncaster’s children’s services after serious case reviews were carried out following the deaths of seven children in the district through abuse or neglect over five years.

Less than a year later, a serious case review found the attacks in the nearby town of Edlington in which two young boys were tortured by two brothers, aged 11 and 12, had been ‘preventable.’

Doncaster Council became the first local authority to be stripped of control of children’s services in 2009, after a ‘legacy of failure’.

The latest serious case review comes as the independent children’s services trust was rated as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted last month.

In the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust’s first inspection since its formation last year, Ofsted branded the trust inadequate for the services it provides to children who need ‘help and protection’.

After the inspection Doncaster Children’s Services Trust chief executive Paul Moffat said he knows there ‘is still a lot to do.’

But he added: “We are making strong progress against our improvement plan and we are on track to reach the targets which were set for us by the council and the Government.”

The trust runs services including fostering, adoption, children’s homes and child protection on behalf of Doncaster Council.