Prison sentence for adoptive father

The father of an adopted three year old boy who died of blood poisoning and pneumonia was sentenced to six months in prison for grievous bodily harm by Jönköping's district court.

The three year old adoptee died on the 8th January having been with his new family in the Jönköping area for six months. He had a number of infected sores, which had led to necrosis. The parents never took him to see a doctor.

The 31 year old father was acquitted of the charge of assault for pinching the boy’s penis.

According to prosecutor, Stefan Edwardson, the father and mother were equally responsible for what happened to the boy. Both were charged with manslaughter as well as grievous bodily harm.

The court decided that both the father and mother, by not seeking medical advice, caused the boy’s injuries by negligence. They knowingly exposed him to serious risks, according to the judgement.

The parents should have realised that the boy’s condition could deteriorate. However, the court didn’t consider that it was self-evident that the parents should have known that the boy’s life was in danger. Therefore, they weren’t convicted of manslaughter.

The court made the point that the mother’s negative experiences of the health service could have contributed to their failure to seek medical advice.

The sentencing of the 29 year old mother has been delayed whilst she undergoes psychiatric assessment. The court, however, has already stated that there’s convincing evidence that she’s guilty of grievous bodily harm.

Both parents deny doing anything criminal. They say that they didn’t realise that the sores could lead to such serious consequences. They also claim that the boy never complained that he was in pain. They opted to dress the sores themselves even after large areas of skin fell off one of the boy’s feet. He died a week later.

According to the parents, he didn’t feely poorly until the day before he died, but several doctors testified that the boy’s injuries were so serious that he must have been in pain and felt unwell. An infection specialist testified for the parents and said that it was difficult for the layman to detect signs of blood poisoning and that death can come quickly.

Social services paid a house visit to the family only three weeks before the boy died and didn’t find anything out of place.

The mother is also charged with assault for allegedly forcing the boy to lick up his own urine. She denies the charge.

The prosecutor asked for a sentence of 12 to 18 months in his closing speech for failing to see that the boy received medical treatment.

The parents were released from custody pending the court decision as there was not considered any danger that they would flee.