Two Convicted Over Death Of Lancashire Toddler

2 November 2018, 13:15

Liverpool Crown Court

**WARNING - some details in this article could be upsetting**

Two people have today 2 November been found guilty of the causing the death of toddler Ellie-May Minshull-Coyle.
 
Ellie-May's mother Lauren Coyle, 20 and her boyfriend, Reece Hitchcott, 20, lived at an address in Ward Street, Preston, where the 19-month-old was found unresponsive on 23 March this year. 
 
The court heard Ellie-May had been bound by her legs and chest and forced to sleep face-down in the bed. She had a duvet placed over her which meant she had no way to regulate her temperature while she was restrained.
 
Lauren Coyle and Reece Hitchcott were found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child and two counts of cruelty to a person under 16 years following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
 
Their lodger, Connor Kirby, was acquitted of all charges.
 
Brett Gerrity, from the CPS, said: "This is a tragic case in which a young and innocent child was treated in the worst possible way by those who should have kept her safe from harm.
 
"During the trial the prosecution proved that by restraining Ellie-May in her bed, or knowing that she had been restrained in such a way, Lauren Coyle and Reece Hitchcott wilfully contributed to or directly caused her untimely death.
 
"Throughout the case the defendants denied responsibility for causing her death and blamed each other, but today the jury have found the child's mother and her partner guilty of causing her death and neglecting her.
"I would like to express my sympathy to Ellie-May's family and loved ones."