Sheffield Crown Court heard during a trial how Sarah O’Brien, aged 33, of Bosworth Road, Doncaster, and her partner Martin Currie, aged 36, of no fixed abode, denied murdering Ms O’Brien’s two-year-old son Keigan O’Brien in January after he died from head injuries.
But Currie was found guilty of murder by a jury and although O’Brien was found not guilty of murder she was found guilty of allowing the death of a child.
Both were also found guilty of cruelty to a child between July, 2019, and January, 2020.
Jason Pitter QC, prosecuting, said Keigan had suffered a brain bleed, possibly from having his head hit against a wall or the floor, and over the previous weeks he had suffered a broken spine, broken ribs and a broken arm due to twisting.
Miss O’Brien claimed she had returned to her home on January 8 after taking Keigan’s siblings to school when Martin Currie called her upstairs and she said saw the toddler on his bedroom floor and called 999 and the youngster was pronounced dead on January 9.
Mrs Justice Jennifer Eady QC told Currie and O’Brien during sentencing today, Wednesday, November 11: “Not long after moving in I am satisfied you began to treat the three children with contempt, and you Sarah O’Brien followed the lead of this new man in your life allowing him to shout and swear at your children.”
Keigan was subjected to violence with fractures caused by severe force and injuries to his brain suggesting he had been shaken, according to Mrs Justice Eady.
Mrs Justice Eady said the most likely scenario is that Currie yanked the youngster by his arm and shook and threw him down with his head hitting a hard surface.
She added this most likely occurred when Currie had been visiting gambling and pornographic websites as was revealed by his internet activity.
Katherine Goddard QC, defending O’Brien, said Currie had tried CPR and emergency services did the same before Keigan later died in hospital.
Miss Goddard said O’Brien who has mental health issues was referred to by her brother Michael O’Brien as someone who will never forgive herself for what happened and who will question what she could have done to stop this.
Christopher Tehrani QC, defending Mr Currie, had claimed Currie had confronted O’Brien when he had found Keigan and he had been prepared to concoct a story to save her.
Keigan’s natural father Ricky Gray stated: “I’m angry, frustrated and in turmoil. I want to turn back the clock and be the daddy he deserved and share precious moments with him and not be the stranger who visited him occasionally.”
Sarah O’Brien’s brother Michael O’Brien stated: “We have lost a beautiful and adorable cheeky boy. He was and always will be loved and missed every day.”
Mrs Justice Eady sentenced Currie, who has previous convictions, to life imprisonment with a minumum of 22 years before he can be considered for parole and O’Brien was sentenced to eight years of custody.