Finley Boden: Parents guilty of murdering 10-month-old in Chesterfield home on Christmas Day

ITV News Central Correspondent Phil Brewster reports on the tragic death of 10-month-old Finley Boden

Warning: Readers may find some of the details in this article distressing

The parents of a baby who died with more than 130 injuries to his body have been found guilty of his death.

Finley Boden, who was 10-months old, died on Christmas Day in 2020 at the family home in Chesterfield - just 39 days after being returned from care.

He had over 130 injuries on his body and had sepsis and pneumonia.

Stephen Boden and Shannon Marsden had both denied charges of murder, manslaughter and causing or allowing the death of a child.

But a jury at Derby Crown Court took just over a week to find them both guilty of murder following a trial of more than six months.

The trial had heard how a catalogue of errors led to the death of the toddler, who was found with dozens of injuries including signs that he had been burnt.

Prosecutor Mary Prior KC described how Finley had suffered a catalogue of "appalling" injuries, including 71 bruises over his body and 57 fractures, many inflicted in the short period before his fatal collapse.

These included breaks to his collar bone, shoulder, shin, thigh bones, pelvis and ribs in the days leading to his death.

Shannon Marsden with 10-month-old Finley, just four weeks before his murder Credit: Derbyshire Police

The court heard his pelvis had been broken in two places, possibly from sustained "kicking or stamping", and he had two burns on his left hand - one "from a hot, flat surface", the other probably "from a cigarette lighter flame."

At an earlier hearing, the court was told that Finley’s cause of death was given as multiple episodes of non-accidental blunt force trauma.

What happened on the day of Finley's death?

Paramedics were called to the address at 2.33am on Christmas Day 2020.

He fatally collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest at the family's "cluttered" and filthy terraced home in Holland Road, Old Whittington, Chesterfield, Derbyshire - with faeces later found in the bedroom.

Finley was taken to hospital, but despite medics' best efforts he was pronounced dead at 3.45am.

Only hours after his son's death, Boden was heard telling Marsden at hospital that he was going to sell Finley's pushchair on eBay - later telling police he only said this in an effort to lighten the mood.

Boden had claimed the family dog may have "jumped on" his son, inflicting broken ribs, while a tear to the inside of Finley's mouth likely caused by a dummy being rammed in was blamed on the child hitting himself with a rattle.

He also sent a text message two days before the child's death saying: "I wantto bounce him (Finley) off the walls."

Finley was taken to hospital, but despite medics' best efforts he was pronounced dead at 3.45am. Credit: Derbyshire Police

Later Marsden, while visiting Finley's body in a hospital chapel of rest on January 11 2021, would say: "His dad's battered him to death. I didn't protect him."

Jurors heard Finley was returned to the couple's care over eight weeks by a court order, despite social workers asking for a longer transition.

A report by the family's social worker had recommended a six-month transition - three times longer than the eight-week period which was ordered at a court hearing concerning the child's care, in October 2020.

Child protection concerns meant Finley was removed from his parents' care shortly after being born in February 2020.

The pair, who did not react as the verdicts were read, will be sentenced at a later date.

What have the local authorities said?

Speaking after the verdict, Detective Inspector Paul Bullock said Finley's parents' primary concern was their own freedom and not his life.

He said: "Finley Boden died in what should have been the safest place in the world for him - his own home.

"He was much-loved by his wider family, and during his short life he had many great times with them. That was until he was in the care of Stephen Boden and Sharon Marsden.

"As a parent you have no greater responsibility than to a child who is in your care.

"But Boden and Marsden couldn't even bring themselves to take poor Finley to hospital when it totally clear that he was critically ill.

"They've never given a reasonable explanation as to why they did not do this but it appears abundantly clear that their primary concern was their own freedom and not Finley."

Statement from Derbyshire County Council

A Derbyshire County Council spokeswoman said: "Finley’s death is a tragedy and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to everyone who knew and loved him.

"Following the conviction of Finley’s parents for murder we continue to be fully engaged with the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership which has commissioned a local child safeguarding practice review.

"This is a statutory legal process, formerly referred to as a serious case review, which looks in depth at the role of all agencies following the death of a child.

"The review is conducted independently and it would not be appropriate for us to comment further until that review is complete to ensure we do not pre-empt its findings.

"Once the review process has concluded we will be in a position to communicate more fully about this case."