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Expert tells court Aimee was shaken to death
4:15pm Monday 21st January 2008 in News
A LEADING child pathologist has told a court he believed a toddler was shaken to death.
Speaking at the trial of Colin Kendrick, who is alleged to have killed Aimee Collins, Professor Rupert Risdon, the UK's only paediatric forensic pathologist, identified 14 bruises and wounds when he carried out the post mortem on the 19-month-old child in December 2005.
An internal examination revealed Aimee had three fractured ribs and bruising and bleeding to her stomach wall, but Professor Risdon concluded Aimee died as a result of a "head injury" as she had suffered brain damage, bleeding to the surface of her brain and to the back of her eyes.
Professor Risdon said: "These characteristics are accepted by most authorities as non accidental injury in the absence of a plausible explanation as to why this occurred."
He said the injuries were likely to have been caused by "shaking or by forceful rotation of a child before bringing it to an abrupt halt against a surface."
Professor Risdon said this type of injury was seen "almost exclusively" in children under three-years-old but he said he could not say what degree of force would have been needed.
Professor Risdon said: "I think because this type of injury is so very seldom witnessed by an independent person we are left with interpretation of the injury and results of confession of injury in these matters."
Professor Risdon said Aimee had suffered damage to her lumber cord, which was also consistent with her being shaken.
He said he did not think the three fractured ribs, bruising and bleeding to the abdominal wall, were caused when doctors at Basildon Hospital fought to save Aimee's life and they were likely to have been caused by a "kick or a punch."
He said: "A child's ribs are extremely pliable and bendable and it is actually quite physically difficult to break a child's ribs so it would need a considerable blow. I would suggest a punch or a kick might be associated with this combination. She would have been very shocked and subdued. It would not in itself be life threatening but a carer would be aware that something had happened."
Kendrick, 31, denies murdering Aimee at the home he shared with the child's mother Sarah-Jane Collins in Eden Green, South Ockendon, on December 6 2005.
The trial continues.