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HomeCulture WarJust who decided that poor little Finley should be returned to his...

Just who decided that poor little Finley should be returned to his drug-addled parents?


SOCIAL services were concerned about Finley Boden before he was even born because his parents were habitual cannabis users and their home was in a disgusting state, so he was made the subject of a pre-birth care protection plan. He was born on February 15 2020 and removed from the care of his mother and father when he left hospital three days later. 

The parents, Shannon Marsden, 22, and Stephen Boden, 29, decided they wanted Finley back to live with them. On October 1, 2020, a family court directed that Finley should be returned to his parents under an eight-week plan including unsupervised visits and overnight stays of varying durations despite the fact that Derbyshire social workers requested a six-month trial period. On November 17 Finley was restored permanently to his parents. On Christmas Day 2020, just 39 days later, he was murdered by them.

Just who made the decision on October 1 that this baby should be returned to the drug-addicted parents? I trust this will be examined by the case review, because it turns out that decision was a death sentence for Finley. 

Visits to their home during the pregnancy had raised questions about their parenting ability and they were known to be regular cannabis users. Yet someone believed that they should be left in charge of a nine-month-old baby. Clearly, the courts have low standards these days when it comes to what constitutes acceptable parenting. After the murder police reported the couple’s house smelled strongly of cannabis and animal faeces, and rubbish covered the floors and surfaces.

Someone decided that these heavy and regular cannabis users would make adequate parents for Finley. Let’s assume for now that no one involved in this case could possibly have believed that they would be make good parents. But they concluded, I assume, that baby Finley would not end up dead a mere 39 days after having been returned to his parents’ custody. 

Previously Finley had been in the care of relatives and was ‘fit and well, safe and happy’. You can see this in the few photographs of Finley that have been released. Finley was a beautiful baby, bright-eyed and smiling. So, someone smiled at him while he was a tiny baby. Someone cared for him. Then mummy and daddy decided they wanted him back and the courts thought this would turn out well, despite the drug use. 

A few more observations. I don’t want to upset readers, but I feel we owe it to this defenceless, innocent, beautiful child to record how terribly failed he was by adults around him. Finley was not just murdered: he was tortured to death. Again, this is not to upset anyone, but sometimes it is too easy to forget, too easy to not want to see. 

We know what happened to Finley was horrific from the reaction of the judge and jury. Mrs Justice Tipples held back tears as she addressed the jury and thanked them for their ‘extremely impressive’ conduct throughout the trial. As she spoke, at least four jurors were in tears, and all were excused from jury service for life due to the distressing nature of the case. People only get excused from jury service for life in very traumatic trials. 

Finley’s death was not quick. The couple burned and beat him in repeated acts of violence. Prosecutor Mary Prior KC told the jury Finley suffered a catalogue of ‘appalling’ injuries, including 71 bruises and 57 fractures, with almost every bone in his body broken by the time he died. His pelvis had been broken in two places, possibly from sustained ‘kicking or stamping’, and he had two burns on his left hand, one ‘from a hot, flat surface’, the other probably ‘from a cigarette lighter flame’.

The inside of Finley’s mouth was ‘torn’, with Ms Prior saying: ‘This is caused by forcing a dummy or a bottle in the mouth.’ The baby had a ‘spiral’ break to a thigh, while a shin bone break was ‘consistent with being held by the ankle and gripped and twisted’. The jury were shown a photograph of Finley taken shortly before his death, where he was lying with his eyes closed. ‘Do you understand that at the date of this photograph, your son’s bones were all broken, apart from his left leg and skull?’ Marsden was asked in court.

Having beaten and tortured this poor baby, the couple took Finley out twice in his pushchair on Christmas Eve, into Chesterfield town centre and to a nearby Tesco, when he would have been ‘obviously’ in pain and very ill, said Ms Prior.

‘Because of the large number of rib fractures, Finley struggled to breathe as well as he had done before,’ she told the court. ‘He got a chest infection which spread around his body. He developed pneumonia. He developed endocarditis, a life-threatening inflammation of the inner lining of the heart’s chambers and valves. By the time he died he had developed sepsis.’

Finley fatally collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest. His parents did not call an ambulance for an hour because Boden wanted to smoke cannabis and hide their drugs. Paramedics were finally called at 2.33am on Christmas Day 2020 and he was pronounced dead at hospital at 3.45am.

I am struggling to understand just how someone inflicts such injuries on a ten-month-old baby. How can you kick or stamp on a helpless baby and burn him, not once but twice? What kind of evil is this? Consider how difficult this would be to inflict on an animal – a puppy or a kitten for instance. Now imagine what kind of person you would have to be to inflict this kind of harm on your own baby. This is demonic. This is satanic and although plenty of people have done this in the past without being addicted to cannabis, I know that this drug must have played a role in this child’s brutal murder. 

Finley Boden was once a happy and cared-for child. Then someone thought it would be a good idea to return this baby to his drug-addicted parents who then tortured him to death. They inflicted such injuries on his tiny, defenceless body that he struggled to breathe, developed species, and died in severe and protracted pain, on Christmas Day 2020. 

In the bad old days, there was a good chance a baby like Finley Boden would have been adopted into a family and gone on to have a happy life. But these are not the bad old days: these are the good days where not even being a heavy cannabis user will see you lose your child. 

Finley Boden, February 15 2020 – December 25 2020. 

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him. 
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, 
rest in peace. 

With acknowledgements to reporting by the Daily Mail, the Guardianand the BBC.  

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