Real Life

NT baby death sent back to police after coroner finds horrific injuries

The coroner believes that this infant may have been a victim of a serious crime.
Michael Smedley before he passed away in 2012.

In 2012, five-month-old Michael Smedley passed away, dying as a result of ‘a traumatic head injury’ while in the care of his 16-year-old mother’s friends, Oliver Deighton and Tamara Cole, in the Northern Territory’s Alice Springs.

An inquest was held into the death of the smiley youngster in December, with Northern Territory coroner Greg Cavanagh now referring the case back to police after making shocking discoveries in relation to injuries found on Michael’s body.

On the morning of Michael’s death, Ms Cole left her friend Tayla Smedley’s baby with her partner, Mr Deighton, who was a disability carer.

Later that morning, Ms Cole arrived back home to take Michael to daycare when Mr Deighton and Ms Cole allegedly found Michael limp and looking like “a rag doll” in his cot.

Michael died that day.

Coroner Cavanagh believes that Michael’s fatal injuries are consistent with that of Shaken Baby Syndrome and being “shaken vigorously”, citing that baby Michael was found to have severe bruising, anal injuries and blood in his nappy.

Not only that, but a forensic scientist claims to have visually identified sperm on and around Michael’s anus at the time of his death, but, as reported by NT News, the sample degraded and the lab didn’t have the means to test it for DNA.

While one paediatrician suggested Michael may have been sexually assaulted, a paediatric forensic physician says Michael’s injuries weren’t consistent with this theory.

Of Michael’s death, Mr Deighton originally stated that he had caught Michael when he fell off the baby change table – a theory forensic neuropathologist Dr Tony Tannenberg dismissed.

“(The fall and catch) would be too brief and the kind of acceleration/deceleration force over that very short period of a fall, wouldn’t have been enough to produce these changes,” Dr Tannenberg’s report read.

More to come…

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