UK: Parents sentenced to life imprisonment for brutally killing 10-month-old son

A couple, who killed their 10-month-old son after he was brought back to their care, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Stephen Boden, 30, and Shannon Marsden, 22  brutally murdered Finley Boden on Christmas Day in the year 2020.

As per BBC reports, Finley succumbed to 130 “appalling” wounds.

Derby Crown Court, on Friday, ordered Boden and Marsden, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, to serve a minimum term of 29 and 27 years respectively.

Judge Amanda Tipples said that the accused had subjected their child to “unimaginable cruelty”.

“Once the injuries had been inflicted, Finley’s daily experience was one of considerable pain, distress and suffering,” the judge added.

The parents were “persuasive and compulsive liars” who acted together, Tipples said. “No one heard Finley cry or scream in pain because you inflicted the injuries on him together, with one of you fracturing his bone and the other keeping him quiet with your hand over his mouth.”

Despite knowing that Finley was seriously ill, no medical help was sought for him by the pair. “Neither of you have shown any remorse at all for what you have done,” she said.

In the early hours of Christmas day, the paramedics were called to the couple’s home in Holland Road, Old Whittington after receiving a call informing them Finley was unresponsive.

He was taken to the hospital and was later declared dead.

Finley’s wounds included 57 breaks to his bones, 71 bruises and two burns on his left hand, one “from a hot, flat surface”, the other probably “from a cigarette lighter flame,”  according to BBC reports.

The autopsy found 71 bruises on him, two burn spots and 57 fractures to his pelvis, shoulder, ankle and ribs.

Toxicology tests showed traces of cannabis in his blood indicating a possibility that he must have inhaled smoke 24 hours before his death.

The court heard that Boden and Marsden used COVID as a ‘perfect excuse’ to prevent social workers from seeing Finley.

While sentencing the two, Justice Tipples described how the victim’s parents were cannabis addicts.

“Finley was a lovely baby. He was happy, smiley and chuckling,” she said.

She continued: “The facts in relation to the last days of Finley’s life are terrible to describe and extremely distressing. 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.”

“He was subject to repeated abuse on multiple occasions. Once the injuries had been inflicted, Finley’s daily experience was one of considerable pain, distress and suffering.”

“It was obvious to both of you by December 16 that Finley was very seriously injured, and he was utterly miserable.”

“He was no longer able to sit up and play with his toys. He was unable to feed himself.”

“By the evening of December 23, he was plainly dying. There was nothing subtle about this at all. It was plainly obvious to both of you,” The Independent quoted her as saying.

‘Boden and Marsden never took responsibility for their actions’, says detective leading the probe

After the hearing, Detective Inspector Stephen Shaw, who led the probe said: “Today we have seen a mother and father jailed for what is, quite simply, an incomprehensible crime.”

“Over the course of a little more than a month, Shannon Marsden and Stephen Boden assaulted their son Finley leaving him with 57 fractured bones across his tiny body.”


“The heart-breaking reality is that Finley’s last days would have been spent in immense pain – a fact that would have been abundantly clear to both his parents.”

“They knew that they were responsible for those injuries, but instead of doing the right thing and taking Finley to seek the urgent medical attention that he required, they took him shopping in Chesterfield town centre as though nothing were wrong.”

“In fact, Finley was dying.”

“Boden and Marsden, from the moment Finley returned to their care, to the point where they entered the courtroom, have never taken responsibility for their actions.”

“They lied and obstructed professionals who were attempting to see Finley to establish that he was being cared for in the correct manner.”

“They refused because they knew that once a professional saw the state of the house and the condition that Finley was in that he would be taken from their care.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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