High Court judge rejects bid from Poppi Worthington’s father

A High Court judge has rejected a bid by the father of Poppi Worthington to remove details of her sexual abuse and change the official record of her death, and ordered him to pay costs for bringing a judicial review.

Paul Worthington’s lawyers claimed David Roberts, Senior Coroner for Cumbria, had “overstepped the mark” at the inquest into the 13-month-old’s death over how he officially recorded the reasons for her death at the conclusion of her inquest in January.

But Mrs Justice Farbey, sitting at the High Court in Manchester, ruled the coroner’s approach “cannot be faulted” and in a 17 page legal judgment, ordered Mr Worthington – who is on Legal Aid – should pay the court costs, subject to his ability to pay.

Poppi Worthington inquest
HM senior coroner for Cumbria David Roberts (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Mr Worthington, 50, a former supermarket worker, last week took his case to the High Court, where he was represented by high-profile barrister Leslie Thomas QC before three Law Lords.

Coroner Mr Roberts ruled in January that Poppi was anally penetrated in her father’s double bed at the family home in Barrow-in-Furness in the early hours of December 12, 2012, but this did not cause her death.

He concluded Poppi suffocated as she slept next to her father in an “unsafe sleeping environment”.

The ruling mirrored the findings of two earlier High Court judgments.

During the inquest, Mr Worthington refused to answer questions about his daughter’s death 252 times, so as not to incriminate himself.

His lawyers had applied for a judicial review of the coroner’s record of inquest, the final two pages of his 87-page ruling, where the coroner must complete boxes in writing, detailing how the death occurred.

As the coroner had ruled sexual abuse did not cause her death, the words “anally penetrated” should be taken out of the record of inquest, because according to the law, this should only detail how the child died.

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