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Leicestershire woman jailed for life for baby murder

|News, Violent crime

A prospective adoptive mother from Leicester has been jailed for life for the murder of a one-year-old baby.

Ruby Thompson died from catastrophic head injuries at her home in Glenfield in August 2012. She had been placed for adoption with Katie Tidmarsh and her husband and gone to live with them in March that year. Ruby also showed signs of other earlier injuries, including a broken arm.

Following investigations into Ruby’s death, Katie Tidmarsh (39) was charged with murder and and tried at Leicester Crown Court. She was also charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm (GBH) for the earlier injuries. She was found guilty by a jury and today, Friday 10 November, sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 17 years.

Janine McKinney from the CPS said: “Little Ruby was barely a year old when her life was ended by an act of violence at the hands of the person caring for her. Katie Tidmarsh denied any violence or intent and tried explaining Ruby’s injuries in all manner of ways, but the truth was that it was she who inflicted the injuries that killed her. 

“Ruby’s death was devastating to all those who loved her. Our thoughts and sympathies are with them. I hope that getting the answers to what happened back in 2012 will be of comfort to them.”

Katie Tidmarsh was also given a three-year sentence for GBH to be served concurrently with the minimum term of her life sentence.

Building the case:

To prosecute an allegation of murder, the CPS must be satisfied that the individual or individuals concerned were directly responsible for the death of the victim and that they intended to kill or do really serious harm with their actions. This does not have to be planned or premeditated.

The majority of evidence in this case came from medical experts who examined the injuries sustained by Ruby. She had suffered catastrophic head injuries, which pointed towards her having been shaken and had suffered a significant impact to her head. The case presented by the CPS was that the medical experts did not consider it possible that these injuries could have been caused by the incidents described by Katie Tidmarsh in her accounts.

Tidmarsh, described incidents involving Ruby to explain her injuries, including her being knocked over by a dog when learning to walk and falling out of her cot. However, the prosecution’s case was that the nature, severity and pattern of her injuries was evidence of physical abuse and could not have been caused by the incidents described by the defendant.

The medical evidence also ruled out any suggestion that they could have been caused by other issues, such as birth trauma or bone disease.

The CPS also presented evidence that Tidmarsh had concealed her own medical background, in particular treatment for mental health difficulties before she took on caring for Ruby.

Notes to editors

  • Janine McKinney is the Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS East Midlands
  • An investigation took place into Ruby’s death concluded in 2013. The CPS assessed all the evidence from that investigation and in February 2014 concluded that our legal tests for a prosecution were not met. In 2018, the investigation was reopened following a finding of fact in proceedings elsewhere. As a result of this fresh investigation, including evidence from additional medical experts, the CPS determined that our legal tests were met and Katie Tidmarsh was charged with murder and inflicting grievous bodily harm.

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