Stepmother convicted of manslaughter over death of 3-year-old Harvey Borrington

Returning a total of seven verdicts, jurors also cleared Borrington of three charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Credit: ITV News Central

A woman has been found guilty of the manslaughter of her three-year-old autistic stepson but has been acquitted of his murder.

Leila Borrington was also convicted of separate charges of assaulting and causing grievous bodily harm to Harvey Borrington.

A Nottingham Crown Court jury, which deliberated for more than 24 hours, cleared Borrington of murder on Tuesday after concluding that she had not intended to kill or cause really serious injury.

Returning a total of seven verdicts, jurors also cleared Borrington of three charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The 23-year-old, who will be sentenced on March 16, wiped away tears with the back of her hands after the verdicts.

The jury deliberated for 24 hours. Credit: ITV News Central

The trial, which started in November last year, heard how Harvey sustained fatal head injuries, including a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain, at Borrington’s home in Main Road near Mansfield in August 2021.

He died in hospital two days later.

During the trial Borrington said she had never harmed Harvey, claiming that he had fallen off a sofa.

Videoed as he lay dying on the floor

The court heard that prior to ringing 999, the 23-year-old texted Harvey’s father, who was out at the cinema, saying: “Why does this happen to me?”

She also videoed Harvey as he lay dying on the floor.

During the proceedings, an expert witness called by the prosecution said that “the account provided by the caregiver does not explain the extent of the injuries” and added that she believed Harvey had died as a result of “direct blunt force trauma”, sustained after Borrington “assaulted” the youngster.

The court heart how 3-year-old Harvey was targeted because he was autistic. Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

Other injuries sustained by Harvey in the weeks prior to his death included a spiral arm fracture, a scrape on his back and marks on his ears and face.

Borrington told the court that these injuries were either self-inflicted or, in the case of the arm fracture, caused when she pulled Harvey up as he tripped walking up the stairs.

During the trial, prosecutor Jonas Hankin KC argued that Borrington had “twisted and turned” her story to suit the evidence.

Autistic boy was 'targeted'

Mr Hankin also claimed that Borrington targeted Harvey, who was autistic and communicated through hand gestures and a handful of words, because he was unable to articulate when he was in pain.

After the verdicts were returned, Mr Justice Nicklin excused jurors from further jury service for 10 years and remanded Borrington in custody.

Thanking the jury panel for its “crucial” decision-making, the judge added: “You all now know how critically important juries are to our jury system.”