Posted: Tue 26th Feb 2019

Detectives working on complex baby death case which led to a Deeside mother being jailed for life have been commended

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Feb 26th, 2019


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An award evening was held recently by North Wales Police to recognise officers and staff for exceptional work during the past year.

Amongst those commended by Chief Constable Carl Foulkes were three detectives recognised for their work on a complex investigation which led to a Deeside mother being jailed for life following the death of her 7-week old son.

On 9th June 2016, police were called to an address in Shotton following a report that a seven-week-old baby James Hughes was in cardiac arrest.

Tragically, he passed away a few days later at Alder Hey Hospital.

Following this tragic incident, an investigation named Operation Zanze was launched into the murder of the baby by his mother.

Whilst the mother – Hannah Turtle had confessed to smothering James early on in the investigation, she denied any intent to kill him.

A North Wales Police spokesperson said:

“The post mortem examination failed to provide any evidence to support or negate the mother’s admissions which proved very challenging in building and sustaining a criminal case against her.

The juxtaposition between the requirements of the health system and the criminal justice system were challenging and had to be appropriately managed.

There was a need to reveal the cause of death, and it was only through the piecing together of individual instances of circumstantial evidence, that resulted in her eventually admitting culpability.

The operation collated upwards of 110 witness statements, 170 exhibits and 500 documents to operate a complex murder investigation with a small team who still had to manage separate high risk demanding workloads.

This lengthy and complex investigation concluded in February 2018 when Hannah Turtle pleaded guilty during her trial to murdering James.”

Turtle was sentenced to life imprisonment after changing her plea to murder, she will serve a minimum tariff of 14 years and 9 months.

Pictured above: Detective Inspector Williams, Detective Sargeant Moore, Chief Constable Foulkes and Detective Constable Nicklin.

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