Parents’ horrific abuse of baby could have been prevented

Baby Isabelle's parents, Katherine Prigmore and Rocky Uzzell

Life-changing injuries suffered by a five-week-old baby girl might have been prevented had earlier signs of harm been spotted, a report has concluded.

The youngster, called Isabelle, will need to be fed through a tube for the rest of her life after being abused by her parents, Rocky Uzzell, 29, and mother Katherine Prigmore, 24, from Kettering in Northamptonshire.

She will need to use a wheelchair and may never recover her sight.

In its report, Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board said that Isabelle was taken to hospital six times in five weeks between her birth and 20 March 2014, when her mother and father were arrested.

The youngster, who is referred to in the report as Child N, spent two days in a high dependency unit after Uzzell and Prigmore had called 999 on 12 March, saying that their daughter had vacant eyes and was unresponsive, limp and floppy.

While X-rays were taken, two rib fractures were not spotted.

The report said that Isabelle was discharged with antibiotics for a “presumed chest infection”.

“If the rib fractures had been identified at that point, it is likely that the subsequent serious injuries to Child N could have been prevented by removing her from her parents’ care,” the report added.

It also said the idea that the child’s injuries, including bruising to her leg, were purposely inflicted was not fully considered.

But in addition to the warning signs, there had also been suggestions that Uzzell and Prigmore were coping with looking after a newborn and were “devoted” to her, the report said.

In December, both parents were jailed at Northampton Crown Court in December for causing or allowing a child to suffer serious harm.

It was claimed that during a hospital visit they appeared to care more about a trip to Nando’s than their daughter’s welfare.

While sentencing Uzzell to six years, Judge Rupert Mayo said: “The harm was deliberate and inexcusable.

“Isabelle has limited life expectancy and will lead a life dependent on the care of others. She was injured on more than one occasion by you.”

The judge added that Uzzell had a “warped view” of what it was to be a parent or carer, and added an extended sentence of two-and-a-half-years.

Prigmore was handed a 28-month prison term.

“Your priority should have been Isabelle,” the judge told her. “It was not – it was you and your needs.”

Leanne Hackshall, Kettering General Hospital’s director of nursing and quality, said: “The Trust has been fully involved in the very detailed investigation into the health care and support that Child N received during the early weeks of her life and we profoundly regret the missed opportunities to escalate safeguarding concerns that have been identified by the investigation into this case.”