Fresh inquest hearing begins in Poppi Worthington case


A fresh inquest hearing will begin today into the case of a 13-month-old girl a judge ruled had been sexually assaulted by her father before her sudden death.

Poppi Worthington was rushed to hospital by ambulance after she collapsed at home, according to her father Paul Worthington.

But during a court hearing involving care proceedings for Poppi's siblings this year, a judge ruled Mr Worthington probably sexually assaulted his daughter before her death.

The 48-year-old, from Barrow, Cumbria, was initially arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, an allegation he denies, but has never been charged.

Authorities sought to keep details surrounding Poppi's death private but legal applications by the press meant a damning judgment into the case was made public for the first time earlier this year.

The first inquest into Poppi's death in October 2014 by then Cumbria coroner Ian Smith lasted just seven minutes and called no evidence.

It was later judged "irregular" in the High Court and a new one was ordered.

Poppi died on December 12 2012 after she was admitted to hospital from her home in Barrow.

A post-mortem examination found she had a fracture to her right leg and suspected acute injuries to her anus.

Cumbria Police conducted no "real" investigation for nine months as senior detectives thought a pathologist "may have jumped to conclusions" in her belief the child had been a victim of abuse.

The toddler was buried in February 2013, precluding a further post-mortem examination, after her body was released by the local coroner.

In January this year during care proceedings in relation to other children in the family, the judgment by Mr Justice Peter Jackson was made public, prompting heavy criticism of Cumbria Police and Cumbria County Council and calls for a public inquiry.

The judge concluded that Mr Worthington had, on the balance of probabilities, abused his daughter shortly before her death.

Mr Justice Jackson's ruling concluded: "Shorn to its essentials, the situation is one in which a healthy child with no medical condition or illness was put to bed by her mother one evening and brought downstairs eight hours later by her father in a lifeless state and with troubling injuries, most obviously significant bleeding from the anus."

No charges have ever been laid against anyone over Poppi's death.

The Crown Prosecution Service has said it is reviewing its original decision not to bring charges and will consider any new evidence if it emerges at the new inquest.

Three Cumbria Police officers are under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over the case.

A reporting restriction prevents identification of Poppi's mother and other siblings.

The pre-inquest hearing begins in Carlisle.