In a harrowing court proceeding, it was revealed that a tragic incident took place in a dilapidated abode, where an innocent infant lost his life to a merciless beating. The house, described as “exceptionally squalid, malodorous, and excessively cluttered,” served as the backdrop for this heart-wrenching tale, unfolding on a somber Christmas Day amidst a nationwide lockdown.
The tender soul known as Finley Boden, merely ten months old, succumbed to the cruel hands of fate while under the care of Stephen Boden, aged 30, and Shannon Marsden, aged 22. The pair stood accused and were subsequently found guilty after an extensive five-month trial at Derby Crown Court. Shockingly, the fatal incident occurred just 39 days following the child’s return to their custody.
Within the court, distressing photographs were presented, providing a glimpse into the couple’s chaotic dwelling, revealing blood-stained objects discovered by the authorities. The visuals portrayed empty energy drink cans, remnants of cannabis, and cigarette butts strewn across the bedside table. These pictures contradicted Boden’s claims that he had never smoked in the presence of young Finley, as reported by the Mirror. Furthermore, there were bottles of liquid paracetamol, used by the couple to alleviate Finley’s suffering caused by the multitude of fractures and bruises that marred his delicate body.
Throughout this trying period, Finley was not taken to receive any medical assistance, and a distressing sight of spoiled milk in a baby bottle on a nearby stool discredited Boden’s assertions that the infant was feeding normally before his tragic demise.
A disconcerting scene unfolded in the couple’s bathroom, where incriminating evidence was discovered, including two bin liners brimming with cannabis and a blood-stained baby garment. At the trial, Mary Prior KC, the prosecutor, revealed the extent of Finley’s agonizing injuries, with 71 bruises found on his body, some of which were up to two weeks old, alongside 57 fractures, many of which were inflicted shortly before his untimely collapse.
The severity of Finley’s injuries was deeply disturbing; his collarbones and thighs bore fractures, while his pelvis had suffered two breaks, possibly due to repeated “kicking or stamping,” leading to injuries akin to a fall from great heights. Additionally, he bore two burns on his left hand—one resulting from contact with a hot, flat surface, and the other likely caused by a flame from a cigarette lighter.
During the trial, jurors learned that Boden was more preoccupied with procuring money to purchase and indulge in cannabis than ensuring his son’s well-being. He displayed a violent temper, evidenced by an incident where he shattered a door in their home. In a heart-wrenching text message to a drug dealer merely two days before his son’s passing, Boden callously stated, “I want to bounce him off the walls.”
Tragically, mere hours after the loss of his child, Boden was overheard at the hospital discussing his intention to sell Finley’s pushchair on eBay, albeit later claiming to have said it in an attempt to lighten the mood.
Marsden, at times, appeared fearful of Boden, as evidenced by a text she sent on December 21, 2020, expressing concern for her life. Visiting Finley’s body in a hospital chapel, she disclosed, “His dad’s battered him to death. I didn’t protect him.”
However, a chilling revelation came to light when, in the back of a police car shortly after their son’s passing, the couple were overheard casually chatting about Christmas dinner. Moreover, on Boxing Day, they were observed “laughing and joking” at a relative’s home.
Throughout their evidence, both individuals vehemently denied any wrongdoing and refrained from explicitly blaming each other for the fatal injuries, which were a result of multiple episodes of blunt force trauma.
Stephen Boden, residing in Romford Way in Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, and Shannon Marsden, without a fixed address, are now awaiting sentencing, scheduled for May 26th.