Kent

Dead baby Eli Cox failed by system, convicted man's cousin says

Danny and Katherine Cox Image copyright Emjay Ivory
Image caption Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd were found guilty of causing baby Eli's death

The cousin of a man who caused the death of a five-month-old baby has said the child protection system failed to do enough to keep the baby safe.

Eli Cox from Kent suffered 28 fractures before he died of a "catastrophic" brain injury in April 2016.

His mother Katherine Cox, 33, and her boyfriend Danny Shepherd, 25, have been found guilty of causing his death.

Emjay Ivory, told BBC South East Today the family had regular visits from social workers before Eli died.

"One would come once a week, one once a fortnight, the health visitor once a month... [Cox] had a lot of support..."

"If enough was done, Eli would be here now," Ms Ivory said.

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Media captionBaby Eli death: 'If enough was done, he'd still be here'

Ms Ivory lived with Cox, Shepherd, baby Eli and his six siblings at the family home but moved out two months before the child died.

She described chaotic scenes of a dirty and disorganised house, with children left to fend for themselves.

She said she had raised concerns with Cox about her style of child raising and urged her to get to grips with the situation at home.

Image caption Ms Ivory said she confronted the baby's mother many times about various problems in the home

Ms Ivory said the way the children were disciplined troubled her and one of them "consistently had bruises all the time".

Cox and Shepherd of Lapwing Close, Minster-on-Sea, on the Isle of Sheppey, denied causing or allowing Eli's death but were convicted after a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

The court heard that paramedics were met with "complete panic" when they were called to the house after Eli collapsed on 13 April 2016.

He died in hospital two weeks later.

Speaking through tears, Ms Ivory said: "[Eli] wanted me to protect him and I failed to do that for him, I couldn't.

"Now I have to live with that."

Image copyright Emjay Ivory
Image caption Emjay said that baby Eli was a happy child who "chuckled all the time"

Kent County Council confirmed the family was known to them.

In a statement, it added: "We note the conclusion of the criminal trial in respect of this tragic matter.

"A serious case review is currently being completed under the direction of the Kent Safeguarding Children Board (KSCB) the findings of which will be made public in due course."

Sentencing will take place at a later date as a psychiatric report is being prepared.

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