Richard Littler KC and Tim Evans prosecute murder of four-month-old baby

November 6, 2023

Richard Littler KC (leader) and Tim Evans from Exchange Chambers have successfully prosecuted a man for the murder of his four-month-old baby in Cumbria.

Dallas Marc Kelly died on 19 October 2021 from a traumatic head injury.

Reece Kelly, 31, from Workington, Cumbria, denied any involvement in the death of his baby.

He changed his story on the day of trial and pleaded guilty to manslaughter, accepting that he had picked up Dallas and shaken him, but claimed he had no intention to cause him serious harm or death.

Georgia Wright, 23, was Dallas’s mother, she was also found guilty of two counts of child cruelty.

Victoria Agulló, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said: “Dallas’s life was tragically cut short by his father, who should have loved and cared for him.

“Throughout the police investigation and up until the first day of the trial Reece Kelly denied that he had caused any injuries to baby Dallas. Even after admitting manslaughter, he claimed that he had no intention to cause him serious harm, however the evidence the jury heard throughout the trial convinced them otherwise.

“Everyone who has been involved in this case has been deeply moved by the tragic circumstances of Dallas’s death.”

On 15 October 2021 Georgia Wright, from Workington, Cumbria, went to work around 9am, leaving her son Dallas in the care of his father Reece Kelly.

At 12.25pm that day Kelly rang an ambulance saying that Dallas wasn’t breathing.

Paramedics gave first aid at the scene and took Dallas to hospital. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff Dallas sadly died at 8.40pm on 19 October 2021.

The pathologist determined that the cause of death was traumatic head injury. There was no natural disease that could have caused his death.

Dallas had bleeds over his brain and his eyes, often associated with nonaccidental head injury.

The pathologist also noted fingertip bruising on his chest consistent with gripping or squeezing.

Dallas was also found to have six rib fractures, five of those fractures were found to have occurred around the time of Dallas’s death and were not consistent with CPR. The other fracture was older, 6-12 weeks prior to Dallas’s death.

Neither Kelly nor Wright could explain the fractured ribs.

Several experts who examined Dallas considered Kelly’s account of what happened on the morning of 15 October and found it inconsistent with the injuries.

All the injuries were consistent with the forceful shaking of baby Dallas.

It was clear from the evidence uncovered as part of the investigation that both Kelly and Wright lived chaotic lives, both addicted to drugs and both seemingly prioritising drugs over food.

Video evidence taken from the bedroom was shown in court of Dallas crying for prolonged periods.

Kelly denied child cruelty charges and murder, claiming he had no intention to seriously harm Dallas.

Wright denied charges of child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child.

Following a two-week trial both were found guilty of child cruelty and Kelly was found guilty of murdering baby Dallas.

The CPS worked with Cumbria Constabulary to build a strong case to put before the jury. The combination of phone evidence building a picture of their drug abuse, financial difficulties and Kelly’s irritability, medical evidence including causation and their totally unbelievable explanations, enabled the jury to be sure that Kelly murdered his son and that both parents were guilty of child cruelty.

Detective Superintendent Jenny Beattie, who led the investigation into Dallas’ death, said: “Dallas was a four-month-old boy who was entirely defenceless from the actions of his parents, Reece Kelly and Georgia Wright.

“Any child, particularly one as young as Dallas, should have parents who care deeply for them and act in their child’s best interest at all times. Sadly, this was not the case for Dallas.

“There is never any excuse or reason to cause harm or distress to a child and I am pleased that both Reece Kelly and Georgia Wright have been held accountable for their actions.

“Both had numerous opportunities to take responsibility for what they had done, however right until the end they have both continued to act in a selfish manner.

“I would like to, once again, thank everybody involved throughout the criminal justice process in relation to this case. The evidence our investigation team uncovered has been expertly presented by prosecuting counsel Mr Richard Littler KC and Mr Tim Evans, and prepared by the Crown Prosecution Service. The jury, who listened to and assessed emotive evidence, have diligently conducted their role in reviewing the facts of this case and coming to their conclusion.

“Our role was to investigate what had happened to Dallas, to establish the facts and to bring any offender to justice. This has been a complex investigation, one which includes distressing detail on how two people could be so cruel to their child.

“I would also like to put on record my thanks to those in our investigation team. The work they have done has led to justice being secured for Dallas.”

***Update 21 November 2023 – Reece Kelly was sentenced to life imprisonment.  He must serve a minimum of 18 years.  Georgia Wright was sentenced to three years in prison.***