Force used to cause baby’s rib injuries was ‘way beyond rough play’, jury told

Laura Langley, 37, is accused of murdering her daughter Edith by inflicting ‘terrible injuries’.

A baby girl allegedly squeezed to death was subjected to a “substantial force that was way beyond rough play”, a court has been told.

Laura Langley, 37, is on trial at Preston Crown Court accused of murdering her daughter Edith by inflicting “terrible injuries”.

Prosecutors say the seven-week-old victim suffered 33 rib fractures at the defendant’s hands.

Giving expert evidence on Tuesday, Professor David Mangham told the jury that 30 of the fractures happened hours before death, including “very close” to it.

He also identified three older cracked ribs which he said happened between two and four days earlier.

The consultant pathologist, a specialist in bones, was sent a series of samples after Edith’s post-mortem examination.

Asked by prosecutor Timothy Cray KC to explain his findings, Prof Mangham said: “This is a very high number of fractures to identify in these kind of cases.

“That implies a high level of force – a substantial force being delivered that was way beyond rough play and something that would alarm an onlooker.”

He said the injuries were “most likely” caused by a squeezing or compressive force to the ribcage.

Prof Mangham said it is well recognised in literature that CPR chest compressions on babies can cause rib fractures to the front – but not the back.

He said: “I don’t deny CPR could have caused some of the anterior (front) fractures but it can’t account for all of them.

“The number is too high and the severity of the fractures is too great.

“And also there are some older fractures which obviously are not CPR.”

Langley called 999 just before 4am on Friday November 20 2020 and said her daughter was not breathing.

Paramedics were at the family home in Belgrave Road, Marton, Blackpool, within minutes and took over chest compressions.

Edith was taken to the seaside resort’s Victoria Hospital but could not be revived and was declared dead at 4.43am.

Opening the case last week, Mr Cray said in the days after Edith’s death, the defendant said it was sudden and unexplained.

He said the “furthest she went” in terms of her own responsibility was to blame herself for drinking alcohol on the Thursday night and into the Friday morning.

The barrister told the jury: “The post-mortem evidence suggests that, sadly, those accounts from the defendant were untrue because Edith had died from terrible injuries.”

Langley denies murder and child cruelty.

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.