The mother of Lily-Mai Saint George has been found guilty of the infanticide of her 10-week-old daughter.
Lauren Saint-George was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter. Darren Hurrell, who had stood trial alongside Lauren Saint-George, was found not guilty of all charges. It has been widely reported that Lauren saint-George was suffering from post-natal depression.
Infanticide is an alternative verdict to murder, when a mother kills her child while her mind is disturbed by a failure to recover from the effects of childbirth, typically within the first year of the baby’s birth.
Sentencing will take place at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday, 9 September.
Lily-Mai Saint George was born prematurely at 31 weeks on 21 November 2017, and, as a result, she had a number of medical issues that needed specialist care. Lili-Mai was kept in hospital and eventually left with her parents on 25 January 2018.
Six days later, on 31 January 2018, a 999 call was made to emergency services, with Lauren Saint-George stating that Lily-Mai was not breathing.
Paramedics arrived at the home and they found Lily-Mai was not breathing but she did have a pulse. The paramedics began emergency first aid and took her to North Middlesex Hospital where a CT scan revealed a bleed on the brain. Lily-Mai was then taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital for emergency neuro-surgery, but her brain injuries were found to be extensive and she died on 2 February 2018.
On 7 February 2018, a post-mortem examination by two specialist pathologists found 18 rib fractures, two bones broken in her right leg and multiple bleeds on the brain. The conclusion was that these injuries were recent and consistent with physical abuse.
The cause of Lily-Mai’s death was found to be as a result of the head injury.
An investigation was launched by homicide detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command and Lauren Saint-George was charged on 1 June 2021.
During the six-week trial at the Old Bailey, articles in the national media articles named individual social workers in the context of processing the discharge from hospital of Lily to her parents.
The inferences in the articles is that the social workers didn’t listen to hospital staff, and then the baby was killed.
In her first statement as Chair of BASW in June, Julia Ross said: “A child's death is an appalling and dreadful tragedy, but in the cases where social work in involved the blaming or even naming the social worker involved doesn’t elevate an article, nor is it journalistically relevant. Also, it is highly unlikely that any one professional is to blame.”
“The article, like many before, misses context and the understanding that social workers don’t work in silos, that in-fact decisions are made as a collective between a whole team of professionals.”
“It is time the press took a more rounded view rather than cast blame.”
“The Serious Case Review will no doubt provide answers but until then this article oversimplifies a complex situation, and we will be engaging the journalists involved to raise these issues.”
WillisPalmer launched #Respect4SocialWork in September in a bid to encourage a better balance in the reporting of the nature of the work that social workers do on a daily basis.
Diane Wills is Consultant Social Worker at WillisPalmer, responsible for quality assuring the forensic risk assessment reports.
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