Father of dead baby Nico Maynard 'was massive risk'

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The father of a baby found dead with a fractured skull had been previously jailed for child cruelty and was a "massive risk", an inquest has heard.

Three-month-old Nico Maynard died at home in Southampton in September 2011. He was also found to have a broken leg.

Hamid Baldelli had served a year in jail for an offence against another child in another part of the country.

In a report on his release Baldelli was described as "as being a massive risk to young children".

The inquest heard a social worker had also raised concerns over his control, power and anger issues.

However social services in Southampton said they knew nothing of Baldelli's past.

His previous victim had also suffered a skull fracture and limb fractures.

Southampton Coroner Keith Wiseman recorded an open verdict and said there was considerable uncertainty about how Nico came to die.

Twin sister

A serious case review published last week into the baby's death called for a national register to be set up for those who commit child cruelty crimes, so they can be tracked.

Baldelli moved to Hampshire after leaving prison in 2009, and started a relationship with Jodie Maynard in Southampton with whom he had twins.

Baldelli said he found Nico cold and stiff and face down in his Moses basket in the early hours of 22 September 2011 and an ambulance was called.

He was confirmed dead at hospital later and post-mortem tests showed fractures to the skull and thigh bone.

Further tests discovered a brain injury, probably linked to the skull fracture, that had happened several days previously.

The surviving twin sister also had fractures to the tibia and skull.

The hearing was told Baldelli and Miss Maynard were arrested on suspicion of murder. They said Nico had fallen off a sofa two weeks previously.

'Appalling failure'

Det Insp Linda Howard, from Hampshire Police, said this was not a plausible explanation of the injuries.

She said: "We obviously looked at the history of the parents and the previous incident as well."

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it did not charge the pair because it was not possible to know who caused the injuries, which happened over a wide timescale when the mother and father and other family members had care of Nico, Ms Howard said.

In addition, several experts did not agree on a cause of death, even though the skull fracture was significant, she said.

However, a detailed hearing into the case was held, the inquest was told.

The judge found that on the balance of probability - a much lesser burden of proof than that required in a criminal case - Baldelli was responsible for inflicting the injuries on the children.

He said Baldelli "had a temper and a disposition to outbursts of anger which he could at times not control and this had led him on several occasions to inflict injuries upon his children".

The judge also said Miss Maynard was "culpable of an appalling failure to protect her children".

"She either knows or ought to know what happened but has resolutely refused to countenance the possibility that the father injured the children," the judge added.

He concluded the most likely way the fracture happened was by a blunt trauma to the head, but he agreed with the experts that the injury did not solely cause the death.

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