Cumbria

Poppi Worthington death: No charges to be brought

Poppi Worthington Image copyright Family photo
Image caption No-one has been charged in connection with Poppi's death

There is insufficient evidence to charge a man over the death of his 13-month-old daughter, the CPS has said, months after a judge ruled he had sexually assaulted her.

Poppi Worthington was found with serious injuries at her home in Barrow, Cumbria, in December 2012.

In January, a judge ruled she had been sexually assaulted by her father, Paul Worthington, who denies any wrongdoing.

He was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in August 2013.

Reaction to the CPS announcement

Key dates in Poppi Worthington case

A CPS spokesman said: "The CPS has looked at the original decision in this case that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction - as we often do in other cases.

"We have reached the same conclusion."

Image copyright Kelvin Media
Image caption Paul Worthington denies harming his daughter

In a statement released following the announcement, Poppi's mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she was "desperate" to understand more about the police investigation and the events leading up to her daughter's death.

Speaking on her behalf, solicitor Fiona McGhie, said: "She is angry and disappointed with the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service and wishes to be given time and space at this difficult time as we approach the inquest."

Cumbria Police, which is being investigated by the police watchdog, has been criticised over its investigation into the death, after it emerged officers failed to preserve vital items for forensic analysis.

'Basic errors'

Chief Constable Jerry Graham said the force "deeply regrets" the way the case was handled.

In January, Mr Justice Peter Jackson's ruling was made as part of care proceedings in the family court involving Poppi's siblings.

He concluded the force carried out no "real" investigation into the death of the toddler for nine months, and highlighted a list of basic errors in evidence-gathering.

Speaking after the CPS announced its decision, Mr Graham said the investigation had fallen "below standard".

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Poppi Worthington died in hospital in December 2012

He said: "I would like to make a full and heartfelt apology to Poppi's family and all those who loved her."

He said the main failings were not preserving potentially relevant evidence from Poppi's home and the length of time it took to interview family and key witnesses.

'Bitterly disappointed'

He also said forensic analysis was not carried out quickly enough and accurate records were not kept.

Prosecutors originally decided there was insufficient evidence "to provide a realistic prospect of conviction", but in January the CPS said it was reviewing the case.

Cumbria police and crime commissioner Peter McCall said: "I am disappointed that despite a re-investigation no criminal charges will be brought.

"The constabulary has let Poppi down as no-one has been brought to justice for her tragic death."

Barrow Labour MP John Woodcock said he was "bitterly disappointed" at the CPS decision and that Cumbria Police's mistakes had "thwarted the chance of ever getting justice for Poppi's death".

A second inquest into the toddler's death is due to take place in the autumn.

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