Kimberley Hainey

Years in prison:
2
Year of crime:
2010
Year conviction was overturned:
2013

Kimberley Hainey was convicted or murder and neglect after her son Declan was found dead in his cot (8 months after he had last been seen alive). Declan’s body was found in his cot when Hainey’s stepfather discovered a key to the flat and went to the flat. It was alleged that Hainey, a herion addict, had abandoned her son for long periods of time, without food or drink. Hainey claimed she had found her son dead one morning and had not reported it due to going into a “downward spiral.” She said that she didn’t want anyone to take Declan away and wanted to be dead herself, she went into denial and kept buying him milk, clothes, and other items. Evidence was introduced from medical experts, although not all normal tests could be done due to the time that had passed since Declan’s death. The defence expert (an expert in orthopaedic pathology) noted that there were no fractures (which he would have expected to see in a case of neglect), no radiological evidence of malnutrition, nor anything to suggest strangulation or smothering. The cause of death was described as unascertained, but the rareity of death from unexplained causes in children Declan’s age was noted (an expert in unexpected deaths in childhood from Great Ormond Street hospital noted that about one boy a year in Scotland would be expected to die due to unexplained causes). Two forensic anthropologists (without medical qualifications) gave evidence for the prosecution. They spoke about a phenomenon known as “corticol erosion” and “Harris” lines on Declan’s bones. They contended that these features might be indicative of pre-death stress arising from neglect and malnutrition. This evidence was said to be subject to “powerful evidence contradicting it” from the other experts. In fact, the experts themselves accepted that they were not qualified to give an opinion on cortical erosion. Despite this, the trial judge had not directed the jury to disregard this evidence. On appeal, the court found that given the problems with the evidence of two prosecution witnesses on cortical erosion and Harris lines, the judge’s instructions were wholly inacequate in simply directing the jury to consider the evidence with care. There was no rehersal at all of the medical and scientific evidence in the judge’s charge to the jury. The court concluded that the trial judge had made a misdirection and failures in direction which were highly material and that this had resulted in a miscarriage of justice. On that basis, the conviction was quashed.

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  • Offence: Murder
  • Jurisdiction: Scotland
  • County: Paisley 
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Gender: F
  • Years in prison: 2
  • Offence convicted of: Murder and neglect; attempting to defeat the ends of justice
  • Year of crime: 2010
  • Year of initial conviction: 2011
  • Year conviction was overturned: 2013
  • Age when imprisoned: 36
  • CCRC Referral: N
  • Tried with others: N
  • Link to full case: https://www.bailii.org/scot/cases/ScotHC/2013/2013HCJAC47.html
  • Compensation: Unknown
  • Crown argued case at CofA: Unknown
  • Retrial: No
  • Previous appeals: None