Mom and Dad “Beat and Burned Their 10-Month-Old Son to Death on Christmas Day

A mom and dad carried out a “savage and brutal” Christmas Day murder of their baby, a court heard.

Stephen Boden, 29, and Shannon Marsden, 22, “beat and burned” Finley Boden in “repeated acts of severe violence”.

The parents are accused of inflicting 57 breaks and 71 bruises on the 10-month-old before he collapsed during the 2020 Covid Lockdown.

The tot died just 39 days after he was placed back into his parents’ care.

Mary Prior KC, opening the case for the prosecution on Wednesday, said Finley suffered a catalogue of “appalling” injuries – some of which were up to two weeks old.

Only hours after his son’s death, Boden was heard telling Marsden at hospital he was going to sell Finley’s pushchair “on eBay”.

The dad later told police he only said it “in an effort to lighten the mood”.

Finley’s pelvis was broken in two places, Prior said, possibly from sustained “kicking or stamping” shortly before his fatal collapse.

Jurors at Derby Crown court were shown images of two burns to the youngster’s his left hand; one “from a hot, flat surface”, the other probably “from a cigarette lighter flame”.

The inside of little Finley’s mouth was “torn”, with Prior suggesting it was cased by forcing a dummy or a bottle in his mouth.

The baby also had a “spiral” break to a thigh which is usually caused from twisting.

And a shin bone break in Finley’s tiny legs was “consistent with being held by the ankle and gripped and twisted”.

The tot’s cause of death was given as multiple episodes of non-accidental blunt force trauma, the court was told.

Jurors were shown photographs of the couple’s filthy home in Old Whittington, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, including blood-stained items and a vomit and feces-stained cot mattress cover.

Paramedics were called to the address at 2.33am on Christmas Day, finding Marsden “upset and screaming” and the child without a pulse being resuscitated by Boden on the kitchen floor.

Finley was taken to hospital where medics tried to save him but he was tragically declared dead at 3:45 am.


At 6.45am, hours after their son’s death, they “surprised” officers “when the topic of conversation in the (police) car was what the food was for Christmas Day”.

On Boxing Day, the pair were heard at a relative’s house “laughing and joking”, Ms Prior said.

On December 19 the pair were told to “get him to the doctors” but Finley – who was not registered with GP – was not taken.

Instead, he was allegedly given doses of liquid paracetamol.

Boden later told a relative the pair did not call an ambulance for an hour because he wanted to have a cannabis joint and hide the drugs stash, Prior said.

Visiting Finley’s body in a hospital chapel of rest on January 11 2021, Marsden said: “His dad’s battered him to death. I didn’t protect him.”

After they were arrested and bailed with conditions not to see each other, Boden and Marsden were seen by social workers in a park on January 31, the court heard.

The Crown say the pair, who met when Marsden was 17, “remained in a relationship… until they were charged” and repeatedly “lied” to cover up what they did.

Boden, of Romford Way in Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, and Marsden, of no fixed address, deny murder, two counts of child cruelty, and two charges of causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial is ongoing…

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