A mother and father have been found guilty of murdering their baby son on Christmas Day in a “savage and brutal” killing.
Cannabis-smoking Stephen Boden, 30, and Shannon Marsden, 22, burnt and beat their baby “in repeated acts of severe violence” in the days before his death.
Both were convicted on Friday after a five-week trial at Derby Crown Court.
Detectives investigating the death of 10-month-old Finley Boden found the boy’s bones were “crushed and twisted” by his parents’ campaign of abuse.
The trial heard how the infant had suffered a catalogue of “appalling” injuries, including 71 bruises over his body and 57 fractures, many inflicted in the short period before his fatal collapse.
Finley’s pelvis had been broken in two places, the court heard, possibly from sustained “kicking or stamping”, while other injuries included a broken shoulder, broken arm, broken shinbone and a thigh bone broken in four places.
The baby had also suffered two burns on his left hand – one “from a hot, flat surface”, the other probably “from a cigarette lighter flame”.
He had also developed pneumonia, endocarditis – inflammation of the lining of the heart – and sepsis.
Finley suffered a cardiac arrest at the family’s “cluttered” and filthy terraced home in Holland Road, Old Whittington, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, where faeces was later found in the bedroom.
Paramedics had been called to the address at 2.33am on Christmas Day and Finley was taken to hospital, but was pronounced dead at 3.45am.
Just hours after his son’s death, Boden was heard telling Marsden in hospital he planned to sell their son’s pushchair on eBay.
Later, Boden would claim to police he only said this in an effort to “lighten the mood”.
Marsden, while visiting Finley’s body in a hospital chapel of rest on 11 January 2021, said: “His dad’s battered him to death. I didn’t protect him.”
The infant died in the winter 2020 COVID lockdown – just 39 days after he was placed back into the care of his parents.
Child protection concerns meant he was removed from his parents shortly after being born in February 2020.
Finley was then returned to the couple over eight weeks by a court order, despite Derbyshire social workers asking for a longer six-month transition.
A child safeguarding review into the circumstances surrounding Finley’s death is currently underway.
Boden, of Romford Way in Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, and Marsden, of no fixed address, had denied murder, two counts of child cruelty, and two charges of causing or allowing the death of a child.
The pair, who did not react as their verdicts were read out in court, will be sentenced at a later date.
The trial judge Mrs Justice Tipples choked back tears as she thanked the jury for its “extremely impressive” conduct through proceedings.
“I would like to thank you for your dedication, commitment and patience in carrying out this extremely important public service”, she said.
“Given the length of this case and the awful nature of the facts you have had to consider, I discharge you from jury service to life.”
Andrew Baxter, Crown Prosecution Service deputy chief crown prosecutor, said: “The violence these two individuals inflicted and their wilful neglect in covering up his injuries is incomprehensible, as his parents they should have been the ones who protected him from harm, not be the cause of it.
“These defendants sought to have their child returned to their care and then treated him in this appalling manner.
“It was clear that Finley’s injuries were obvious and that he needed help, yet his own parents chose to ignore his needs to protect themselves.”
Detective Inspector Steve Shaw of the Derbyshire Constabulary said officers had not been prepared for the level of abuse they uncovered.
He said: “The majority of Finley’s bones were fractured in some way and as the investigation progressed, the evidence from some of the experts around the levels of force that had to be used – Finley’s bones had to be crushed and twisted with quite some force – eliminated any accidental cause of these injuries.”