A mother and father who murdered their 10-month-old baby on Christmas Day 2020 weeks after he was returned to their care have been jailed.
Stephen Boden, 30 and Shannon Marsden, 22, were found guilty of the murder of their son Finley Boden in Derbyshire in April. While being sentenced today (May 26) Mrs Justice Tipples told Marsden she would serve a minimum of 27 years behind bars, while Boden was told he would serve at least 29 years in jail.
Finley suffered horrific injuries including multiple bone breaks and fractures, a fractured thigh and broken pelvis, burn marks and 71 bruises. He also had sepsis and endocarditis - an infection of the lining of the heart.
The infant died just a few weeks after he was placed back into the care of his parents following a family court order made in October that year. During sentencing, Mrs Justice Tipples said Finley’s last days "are terrible to describe" adding the injuries had been inflicted the infant’s daily experience was "one of considerable pain, distress and suffering".
She also described the couple as "persuasive and accomplished liars" who inflicted "unimaginable cruelty" on their son.
She said: "You both knew that Finley was very seriously ill and dying… yet you deliberately failed to seek any medical help for him and you made sure that he was not seen by anyone that could have rescued him and taken him away from your care. Medical intervention would have saved Finley’s life."
A detective inspector at Derbyshire Police, Paul Bullock, described the injuries inflicted by the parents as "amongst the worst I’ve seen in my 27-year policing career".
Sky News reports that a social worker had warned the court that Finley would be "at risk of suffering from neglect, physical and emotional harm" if Marsden and Boden continued taking illegal drugs or failed to continue making positive changes.
A representative for Derbyshire County Council also told the court hearing that "all parties" agreed Finley should "transition" back to the care of his parents but asked for this to be staged over four months and with the need for additional drug testing.
But a representative for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), who was representing Finley at the near-two-hour hearing, challenged the four-month transition and said extra regular drug testing was necessary.
When Finley returned to their home in Chesterfield in mid-November 2020 his parents began what prosecutors said was a "savage and brutal" campaign of abuse.
It has been reported that following Finley’s death, Boden was heard mentioning how he would sell Finley’s pram on eBay and the pair were later seen laughing together in a taxi.
During the trial, Boden said that Finley’s injuries could have been caused by rocking him too hard, adding that the pram comment was made in an attempt to "lighten the mood".