Summer died from ‘blunt force’ blow to the head, inquest told

TRAGIC TOT Summer Rogers-Ratcliffe.
TRAGIC TOT Summer Rogers-Ratcliffe.

The pathologist who examined the body of Summer Mai Rogers-Ratcliffe believes that the head injury that killed her was not an accident.

Dr Matthew Lyall said a “blunt force” injury to the head led to the death on the opening day of the inquest today (Monday).

Summer, who was 21 months old, died in hospital in the early hours of February 28, 2012. She had been in the care of her mother, Victoria Rogers, and Ms Rogers’ partner at the time, Craig Sharp.

Summer was found not breathing in her cot at her home in Nook Green, Thornhill, by Ms Rogers’ mother, Susan Rogers – who raised the alarm.

Ms Rogers, Mr Sharp and Susan Rogers were arrested in connection with the death in September 2012 but were released without charge. In July 2013, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against any individual.

Today, Dr Lyall, a forensic pathologist, based at Royal Liverpool Hospital at the time, told the hearing what conclusions he had drawn from his post-mortem.

He explained that Summer had suffered bleeding and swelling to the brain and severe damage to her retinas.

He also explained that Summer did not appear to be uncared for or neglected in any other way.

Mr Lyall said: “Significant blunt force injury could explain all findings in the head and eyes.”

He went on to explain that it appeared a “firm, blunt, relatively broad object” had struck Summer, or Summer’s head had been hit against such an object.

This would have occurred close to the time of Summer’s collapse, he said.

He went on: “It is not possible to be completely certain how the injury has been caused...whether accidentally or non-accidentally.

“However, I do not believe that a minor or trivial accidental head injury would realistically explain the findings.

“It is difficult to escape the conclusion that she died as the result of an inflicted head injury.”

The hearing resumes tomorrow and is due to finish on Friday.