Parents 'murdered 10-week-old baby hours after being told she'd be taken into care'

15 June 2022, 09:29 | Updated: 15 June 2022, 09:38

Lauren Saint George and Darren Hurrell and on trial for murder, manslaughter, causing or allowing a death and child cruelty
Lauren Saint George and Darren Hurrell and on trial for murder, manslaughter, causing or allowing a death and child cruelty. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

A mum and dad 'killed their 10-week-old daughter just hours after they were told the baby would need to be taken into a residential unit', a court has heard.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Lily-Mai Hurrell Saint George suffered 18 rib fractures, a leg fracture, and a fatal head injury allegedly 'caused by forceful shaking at the hands of her parents Lauren Saint George and Darren Hurrell', both 25.

She had been discharged into her parents' care just six days earlier despite the opposition of hospital staff, a jury was told.

Wood Green Crown Court heard that police were called to a domestic incident at the family's flat in Duckett's Green, north London, the day before the baby arrived home.

Read more: Second arrest in search for missing British journalist in Amazon

Read more: Vet nurse and vegan activist sacked after hiding 'liberated' turkey in uni flat

And Haringey social worker Theresa Ferguson told the couple Lily-Mai would have to go into a residential unit around four or five hours before Ms Saint George made a 999 call on the night of January 31 2018, the jury heard.

Lily-Mai was taken to North Middlesex Hospital suffering from injuries in keeping with suspected physical abuse but died two days later on February 2 after being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, said prosecutor Sally O'Neill QC.

Ms Saint George, of Enfield in north London, and Mr Hurrell, of Alvaston in Derby, are on trial, where both deny murder, manslaughter, causing or allowing a death and child cruelty.

Ms Saint George called 999 hours after the social worker left
Ms Saint George called 999 hours after the social worker left. Picture: Alamy

Ms O'Neill said: "It is the Crown's case that these two defendants, Lily-Mai's parents, were responsible for her death and that these fatal injuries were caused to Lily-Mai by forceful shaking shortly before that 999 call only six days after she had been discharged into their care."

The court heard the pair had been housed in a small flat while their baby was still in Barnet Hospital, having been born prematurely at 31 weeks.

Ms Ferguson, a social worker with Haringey Child and Family Services, was allocated the case after concerns were raised over the parents' ability to care for Lily-Mai.

Read more: William and Kate lay wreath at Grenfell Tower memorial service five years after tragedy

Read more: George Osborne: I would have voted to save Boris Johnson

A decision was made to discharge the baby after a meeting - during which Ms Saint George, who had known mental health problems, stormed out due to "anger issues", said Ms O'Neill.

"Almost all of the professionals at the hospital were opposed to the baby being discharged into the parents' care at home and had expressed their concern about the parents' ability to meet the baby's emotional, developmental and physical needs on many occasions to the social services," she said.

"But nonetheless, the decision was made to discharge the baby into the care of her parents and the hospital had to accept that and deal with the situation as best they could."

Lily-Mai died on February 2 after being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital
Lily-Mai died on February 2 after being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Picture: Alamy

Police were called to Mr Hurrell and Ms Saint George's flat on January 24, the day before Lily-Mai was discharged, over a domestic incident but no offence was disclosed.

On the same day Ms Ferguson made a referral for a "legal gateway meeting" - one of the options available to the social services to take steps to intervene in the care of a baby - but went on annual leave the following day.

Ms O'Neill said: "To describe this timing as unfortunate is perhaps to understate the problem."

Read more: Four Met Police officers investigated after black schoolgirl strip-searched

Read more: 'Real parallels with Hillsborough': Shelagh Fogarty on Grenfell handling

A duty social worker visited the family on January 26 while Ms Ferguson made a home visit when she returned to work on January 30, followed by the health visitor, Alberta Nyantaki, on the same day.

Although Ms Nyantaki concluded that Lily-Mai's needs were being "satisfactorily met", she expressed "serious concerns" to Ms Ferguson, who told her the threshold for a child care protection plan had been met because of the couple's volatility, the court heard.

That legal process, in the form of a legal gateway meeting, began the following day and Ms Ferguson visited the flat at around 3pm to explain options for a residential placement for the family or for Mr Hurrell and the baby to go in without Ms Saint George.

It was agreed Mr Hurrell would go into the residential unit with his daughter
It was agreed Mr Hurrell would go into the residential unit with his daughter. Picture: Alamy

"Lauren Saint George reacted by becoming irate and saying that she wasn't going into a unit and Theresa Ferguson could take the baby," said Ms O'Neill, who explained that Mr Hurrell agreed he would go into the unit.

"Theresa Ferguson left apparently confident in Darren Hurrell's ability to protect Lily-Mai in the home and accepted his assurance that he would go to the residential unit the following day.

"Lily-Mai's collapse happened later that day.

"The 999 call was made at 21.08 later that day so about four or five hours after Theresa Ferguson had left the family."

The five-week trial continues.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

iPhones are among the affected devices

Apple reveals serious security issue with iPhones, iPads and Macs that could give hackers complete control

Another day of travel chaos awaits commuters in and to London

Unions threaten to strike for 'as long as it takes' as millions face more travel chaos in London

The officer has been charged with dangerous driving

Armed officer charged with dangerous driving after he drove unmarked car to Streatham terror attack

Ryan Giggs' raunchy poems to his ex were read out in court

Ryan Giggs' mother sits in court as raunchy 'totem pole' poems he sent to ex are read out

Ms Marin said she is a normal 36-year-old who spends time with her friends

Finnish PM denies drug taking after footage of 36-year-old dancing at 'wild' party emerges

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A new image, on the right, has been released

New image of man released by police after girl, 6, abducted and taken to woodland in Droylsden

Mr Mendy and Mar Matturie deny a string of sex offences

Benjamin Mendy 'told rape victim he had sex with 10,000 women and it was a privilege'

Anger as Southern Water ‘unsure’ how many litres of sewage released at closed beaches

Sewage scandal: pollution plaguing Britain’s beaches and beauty spots as water firms told 'clean up your act'

Rishi said his go-to item with his daughters would be a breakfast wrap, which has been discontinued

Rishi Sunak’s 'go-to' McDonald’s order with his family taken off menu over two years ago

Salman Rushdie suspect had ‘read two pages’ of the Satanic verses, after mother says ‘I’m done with him’.

Salman Rushdie attack suspect reveals he 'only read two pages' of Satanic Verses

Exclusive
Sadiq Khan said the heatwave was partly to blame for the recent rise in violent crime

Sadiq Khan blames London's rise in violent crime on longer days, school holidays and the heatwave

MP Margaret Ferrier has pleaded guilty to breaching Covid rules

MP Margaret Ferrier pleads guilty to Covid rule breach

The body of Aran Chada, 51, was found hundreds of metres below the surface of Lake Garda

Body of ‘Hero’ British father found at bottom of Italian Lake after he jumped from boat to save his son

Jeremy Corbyn joined striking rail workers on a picket line at Euston this morning

Labour MPs defy Starmer again by joining striking rail workers as Corbyn shows up sporting black eye

Forensic investigators at the scene in Auckland where the children's bodies were found

Horrified family finds bodies of two children in suitcases bought at abandoned storage unit sale in New Zealand