Review backs decision not to charge father of Poppi Worthington

Updated: 

There will be no criminal charges brought following the death of 13-month-old Poppi Worthington, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

A judge in the family courts earlier this year ruled that Poppi's father, Paul Worthington, probably sexually assaulted Poppi before her sudden death, although Mr Worthington denies any wrongdoing.

The CPS said on Monday that a full review of the evidence found that "the decision not to charge was correct".

Poppi collapsed with serious injuries at her home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, on December 12 2012 and was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Mr Worthington was originally arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in August 2013 but no action was taken against him, and he has always denied any wrongdoing.

A CPS spokesman said on Monday: "Following a review of the original charging decision in this case, the CPS announced that there was not a realistic prospect of conviction in July 2016.

"The CPS subsequently received an application under the victims' right to review scheme in September 2016.

"In accordance with the scheme, a CPS lawyer with no prior involvement in the case has completed a full review of the evidence and has concluded that the decision not to charge was correct."

Poppi's death had been shrouded in secrecy, with a 2014 fact-finding civil court judgment by Mr Justice Peter Jackson being kept private so as not to prejudice any criminal proceedings, and an inquest into her death lasting just seven minutes.

Cumbria Police conducted no real investigation for nine months as senior detectives thought a pathologist who examined Poppi's body ''may have jumped to conclusions'' that the girl had been abused, concluded Mr Justice Jackson.

A list of basic errors in evidence-gathering by detectives was also highlighted, which Cumbria Police later apologised for. 

A fresh inquest into the death of Poppi - ordered by High Court judges after the first hearing in October 2014 was deemed "irregular" after it called no evidence - had been adjourned pending the latest review.

 

Fiona McGhie, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Poppi's mother, said on her behalf: "Poppi's mother is understandably both distressed and disappointed by the CPS's decision not to bring a prosecution regarding her death.

"She has always been anxious to know exactly what happened to Poppi on the day of her death as well as to secure justice for her little girl.

"She hopes that an inquest, which was delayed while the CPS examined its decision, will shed some light on Poppi's injuries and create a path to justice so her daughter can finally be at peace."