Jury fails to reach verdict in baby death case

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A jury has been discharged after failing to reach verdicts on man and a woman accused in connection with the death of a four-month-old baby.

Lucas Irvine was rushed to hospital in Lancaster with a bleed to the brain on November 17 2010 and died four days later.

A post-mortem examination revealed Lucas died from “non-accidental head and spinal injury” and that his brain was “massively swollen”, which was consistent with “deliberate and violent shaking”.

Following more than 14 hours of deliberation at Preston Crown Court, the jury failed to reach verdicts on an allegation of manslaughter against Lucas’s 19-year-old mother and of causing or allowing the death of a child.

The jury also failed to reach a verdict on a charge of causing or allowing the death of a child against Karen Irvine’s then boyfriend, Christopher Roberts, 19.

Trial judge Mrs Justice Swift had earlier ordered the jury to return not guilty verdicts against both defendants on charges of murder, and of manslaughter against Roberts, after the Crown conceded there was insufficient evidence.

Irvine, of Gerrard Street, Lancaster, and Roberts, of Garth Lane, Knighton, Powys, who deny the allegations, were granted bail as they were told they would face a probable retrial on the outstanding allegations in November.

Prosecutor Dennis Watson QC said the Crown would require some time to consider its position.

However, he added: “We state publicly now the defendants may be best advised to be expecting a retrial.”