Poppi DNA swabs ‘tend to exclude’ assault

Poppi WorthingtonImage copyright Family photo
Image caption The new inquest was ordered after a seven-minute hearing in 2014 determined Poppi’s death was “unascertained”

DNA evidence taken from Poppi Worthington and her father “tends to exclude” the possibility he sexually assaulted her, an inquest heard.

Forensic scientist Michael Scarborough tested swabs from the thirteen-month-old and her father, Paul.

He said Poppi’s DNA had been found on her father’s penis but his findings tended to exclude penetration as the reason for its presence.

None of Mr Worthington’s DNA was detected inside Poppi, he added.

If Mr Worthington had Poppi’s DNA on his hands and later went to the toilet, for example, then the DNA “would have likely” transferred, Mr Scarborough told the inquest in Kendal.

Poppi died suddenly at her home in Barrow on 12 December 2012.

In 2016, High Court family judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson ruled she was probably sexually assaulted by her father shortly before she died.

No-one has been prosecuted and Mr Worthington has always denied any wrongdoing.

Missing pillow

The inquest also heard evidence from Dr Alan Sprigg, a consultant paediatric radiologist, who reviewed a skeletal survey which showed injuries to one of Poppi’s legs.

Although he said it was “relatively unusual” to find in a child of Poppi’s age, he reiterated his opinion, given in his initial report, that the fractures could have been accidental.

He added he would have expected her to have cried out in pain, alerting her carers to the fact she had been hurt.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Worthington declined to answer dozens of questions when he gave evidence last week

The hearing was also told mystery surrounds the fate of Poppi’s favourite pink elephant pillow, which she slept with every night, and a blanket which may have had blood on it.

Pictures of Mr Worthington’s bedroom taken by police on the morning of her death show the pillow had been moved from her cot to his bed.

The inquest has heard a statement from Poppi’s mother in which she said she never removed the pillow and assumed Cumbria Police had taken it.

She said she was living at her mother’s house until 4 January 2013 but did make a couple of returns to her own home to collect belongings.

She also said Mr Worthington had been in the house alone at some points.

Police did not seize it and neither that nor the blanket have been accounted for, the inquest was told.


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