Poppi Worthington’s mother hopes second inquest will reveal truth about death
The mother of 13-month-old Poppi Worthington whose sudden death was shrouded in secrecy hopes that a second inquest will uncover how her daughter died.
The infant died after collapsing with serious injuries at her home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, on December 12 2012.
In January, a High Court judge ruled that on the balance of probabilities Poppi was sexually assaulted by her father Paul Worthington before her death.
On Friday a pre-inquest review hearing will get under way in Carlisle to set a timetable for the fresh inquest.
Poppi’s mother has said she hopes it will finally give the toddler justice.
Fiona McGhie, an expert civil liberties lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing Poppi’s mother – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said on her behalf: “Poppi’s mother has always been anxious to know exactly what happened to Poppi on the day of her death as well as to secure justice for her little girl. She hopes the full inquest will assist her in both endeavours.”
Mr Worthington, 48, who was arrested and questioned on suspicion of sexual assault in August 2013, has always denied any wrongdoing.
Earlier this month the Crown Prosecution Service said that after reviewing its previous decision not to pursue criminal charges in the case, there was “insufficient evidence” to charge Mr Worthington with any offence over his daughter’s death.
At the time a spokesman for the CPS said: “The CPS has looked at the original decision in this case that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction – as we often do in other cases. We have reached the same conclusion.”
Following the announcement, Poppi’s mother said that she had been left “angry and disappointed” by the decision.
In October 2014, an inquest into the infant’s death controversially took only seven minutes to declare the cause of death could not be ascertained, with the original coroner concluding that her death remained “unexplained”.
High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson’s ruling was made as part of care proceedings in the family court involving siblings of Poppi.
The judge concluded that Cumbria Police carried out no “real” investigation into the death of the toddler for nine months, and highlighted a list of basic errors in evidence-gathering.
He noted that senior detectives thought a pathologist “may have jumped to conclusions” in her belief that the youngster had been a victim of abuse.
Cumbria Police later apologised to the family for their investigation failings which the Chief Constable of Cumbria Police Jerry Graham said had fallen “well short” of the standard that should have been expected.
He added that it had hindered the “ability of legal proceedings charged with the responsibility of determining what happened to Poppi”.
The Attorney General was later asked to instigate a new inquest, which is scheduled for later this year.
It is expected that Cumbria’s Coroner David Roberts will call Mr Worthington to give evidence.
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