A mother is out on appeal after she took her infant to a bar and allegedly caused his death.
Marina Tilby, 26, from Ceredigion, Wales, was placed behind bars in June, to serve a sentence of nearly two-and-a-half years after admitting to “child cruelty through willful neglect.” Her four-week-old baby body, Darrian, died after she took him out on a drinking binge and fell asleep on top of him. Darrian was rushed to hospital on March 29, 2017, after she was found lying on him after a night out at Quay West caravan park in New Quay, Ceredigion. Medical staff could not revive the infant. Now Tilby is out on appeal.
The judge for the appeal said Tilby and her sister drank Guinness in a bar before heading to the club at Quay West park at about 8.30pm. Witnesses saw Tilby holding the baby while dancing with taped footage showing her holding him over her head and throwing him in the air before catching him.
The sisters met three men who were staying at a park and went back to their caravan at the end of the night. Tilby reportedly gave Darrian a bottle before putting him down on a double bed and then going to sleep beside him. When her sister came to look for her a short while later she found Tilby lying on top of Darrian, who “was unresponsive a bloody nose,” a police report indicated, adding, “Despite efforts to wake her, Tilby was unable to be roused from her sleep for an hour and a quarter while the baby was taken to Bronglais Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.”
Medical evidence was unable to rule out the possibility that the boy’s death was caused by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) even before his mother rolled on top of him. A victim impact statement from Darrian’s father made it clear he would have looked after his son on the night in question if he had been asked.
The judge stated a psychological review of Tilby’s mental state revealed Darrian’s death had a “significant impact” on her mental health and she had “suffered a deep depression.” Sentencing Tilby in June, Judge Paul Thomas told her she had shown “deliberate disregard for her son’s welfare.” He added, “It is a mother’s responsibility, a mother’s duty, and her natural instinct to put the care and safety of her four-week old child above all else. You completely ignored that duty so you could get extremely drunk on a night out.”
Her attorney, Dyfed Thomas, argued however that Tilby’s sentence was “too long and could have been suspended in the circumstances of the case.”
The appeals court ruled said her offending was “one evening of neglect involving a lapse of judgment.” rather than a prolonged period, and Darrian was “otherwise well cared for.” Tilby has now been freed from prison after judges at the Court of Appeal in London suspended her sentence. Justice Fraser said, “the original sentence was manifestly excessive in light of her genuine remorse and her own suffering.”
The court ordered Tilby to undergo a probationary period for one year after her release.