An inquest into a four month old baby killed by his father is due to start next week. On 12 September 2018, Caitlin McMichael found her four-month-old baby Alfie Gildea with serious head injuries. Alfie died two days later. The prosecuting barrister Andrew Thomas QC had said that Alfie’s father, Samuel Gildea, had caused the death in an ‘act of deliberate and unlawful violence which involved rigorous and violent shaking’. Medical evidence showed that Samuel had taken cocaine, either on the morning or the day before, the fatal injuries occurred.
Samuel pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment and a further two years for coercive and controlling behavior against Caitlin McMichael. He had prior convictions, including six involving domestic violence – he had been the subject of a Domestic Violence Protection Order; however, no charges were brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Selen Cavcav, Senior Caseworker at INQUEST said the inquest must provide ‘proper scrutiny of any systemic failings which put Alfie and his mother at such risk’.
Caitlin McMichael was not fully abreast of her partner’s past offending and said ‘if only I had known what the police knew, I would never have allowed Sam near my children’.
The inquest, starting Monday and expected to last for two weeks, will examine risk assessments carried out by the police in response to the previous violent incidents between Samuel and Caitlin and why Alfie’s mother was not fully informed about her partner’s previous convictions involving domestic violence, through the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme known as ‘Clare’s Law’.