Finley Boden: Neighbours reveal life of parents who killed their baby on Christmas Day

Georgia Hubbard (left) and Sarah Bryan (right) lived near Stephen Boden and Shannon Marsden Credit: ITV/Derbyshire Police

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

Neighbours of a mum and dad found guilty of murdering their 10-month-old baby son on Christmas Day have told ITV News Central of their experiences with the couple.

Stephen Boden, 29, and Shannon Marsden, 22, both denied murder, cruelty to a person under 16 and causing or allowing the death of a child, but were convicted following a trial at Derby Crown Court.

The trial heard how a catalogue of errors led to the death of the baby, who was found with 130 injuries including signs that he had been burnt.

Sarah Bryan, who lived near the family, recalled the violence, smell and drug-taking of her neighbours.

She told ITV News Central Correspondent Phil Brewster that Marsden once "had a boot mark around her face and there was one on the door as well".

"She even told me and my sister, when she was crying at the back door that he strangled her."

Ms Bryan said she blames Derbyshire County Council and the social services teams over the care of Finley Boden.

'They should have been there to protect that little boy', says Sarah Bryan

The former neighbour added: "Why would you want to put a child with a couple that aren't stable, that are always fighting and arguing and violent and everything. You wouldn't want to do that.

"As a professional, you're there to protect children - not put them in particular danger or anything like that.

"They should've been there to protect that little boy, a lot more than they were, definitely."

She has hit out at the council and the social services in Derbyshire involved in the case, saying "they should be ashamed of themselves".

"That little boy would still be here if it wasn't for them doing their job properly," Ms Bryan added.

Another former neighbour has echoed similar comments as Ms Bryan, saying she recalls the terrible conditions of the house.

Georgia Hubbard said: "When I could see through the door when they first came to speak to me, I just remember there being piles and piles and piles of rubbish, on the floor there was dog poo, it was like you know when you go to a bar or something and you can tell the floor is sticky - that is just what it looked like."

Ms Hubbard explains how she saw Finley and explained the type of conditions she would see him in.

"His clothes were filthy, his face, I don't know if it was bruises or what now after hearing everything about it.

"He just looked completely disheveled, you wouldn't say he was like a normal happy like my kids are happy and healthy, he just looked ill.

"There was no colour to his face."

'I felt guilty because I did hear things,' says former neighbour Georgia Hubbard

She added that she also feels guilty for not saying more - and is appalled at how anyone could hurt their own child.

"I felt guilty, if more than anything, because I did hear things and I didn't say anything."

She added that parents are meant to protect their own child not hurt them.

"He was just a baby, how could you do that to a baby?

"I look at her (my daughter) and he weren't much older than her really, how could you do that... you're meant to protect them, not hurt them."

In a statement after Boden and Marsden were convicted, 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.”