Thirteen-month-old Poppi Worthington was sexually assaulted by her father shortly before her sudden death, a family court judge has said.
Poppi Worthington was found with serious injuries at her home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in December 2012, and later pronounced dead in hospital.
The circumstances of the death of the 13-month-old were kept private so as not to prejudice any criminal proceedings pursued against Poppi’s father Paul Worthington, who was arrested and questioned on suspicion of sexual assault in the wake of the tragedy.
High Court family judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson, sitting at Liverpool Crown Court, ruled today that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ Worthington, 47, ‘perpetrated a penetrative assault on Poppi’. Worthington had denied wrongdoing.
A coroner at an initial inquest declared Poppi’s death as ‘unexplained’ in just seven minutes.
A hearing took place last month after Worthington appealed against the findings of a High Court family judge that related to care proceedings for other children in the family.
It emerged that detectives had not investigated the death until a full post-mortem was ready, and a number of police omissions included items not preserved for forensic analysis and a failure to properly secure the scene at the house.