Mum found guilty of allowing son's death – partner convicted of murder
12th November 2020

Mother, 33, is found guilty of allowing her two-year-old son’s death as her boyfriend, 36, is convicted of murdering the toddler by ‘hitting his head against a wall’

  • Sarah O’Brien, 33, was cleared of murdering her two-year-old son Keigan
  • But was found guilty of allowing the death of the toddler earlier this year
  • Her partner Martin Currie, 36, was found guilty of murder and child cruelty 
  • Trial at Sheffield Crown Court lasted nearly five weeks, and jurors heard Keigan had suffered a broken spine, broken ribs and a broken arm before his death

A mother has been found guilty of allowing the death of her two-year-old son who was murdered by her partner and died from having his ‘head hit against a wall’.

Sarah O’Brien, 33, was cleared of murdering her toddler son Keigan Ronnie O’Brien after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court lasting nearly five weeks.  

However, she was convicted of the alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of a child and child cruelty.

Martin Currie, 36, her partner of six months, was found guilty of murder and child cruelty.

Keigan, previously described by his mother as a ‘cheeky monkey’, was rushed to hospital from a property in Doncaster, South Yorkshire on January 8, but died a day later.

Keigan Ronnie O’Brien, two, died after being rushed to hospital from a property in Doncaster, South Yorkshire on January 8


Sarah O’Brien, 33, was cleared of murdering her son, but was convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child and child cruelty. Martin Currie, 36, her partner of six months, was found guilty of murder and child cruelty

Jurors were told Keigan suffered a brain bleed in the incident in January, possibly from having his head hit against a wall or the floor. 

Over the previous weeks, he had suffered a broken spine, broken ribs and a broken arm due to twisting.

On the morning he was fatally injured, he had been in the care of Currie at the family home, in Bosworth Road, Doncaster, while O’Brien was out of the house, the court heard.

The trial heard that Currie searched the internet for terms including ‘irregular breathing’, ‘gurgling’ and ‘unconscious’ two hours before seeking medical help.

The couple rang 999 at 10.55am after claiming to have found him not breathing in bed and did not explain how he came by his injuries.

The court heard that the couple had previously called Keigan derogatory names in messages to each other.

O’Brien had embarked on the relationship with Currie six months before Keigan’s death, despite warnings not to go out with him, the court heard.

Jurors were told Keigan suffered a brain bleed in the incident in January, possibly from having his head hit against a wall or the floor 

The court heard that the couple had previously called Keigan (pictured) derogatory names in messages to each other

In October, she did not seek medical help when her son suffered two black eyes while in the care of Currie, telling her friend the toddler had fallen down the stairs, jurors were told.

O’Brien explained to the friend she did not take him to hospital because ‘they will start asking questions’.

Later examination found blood spatters on the wall by Keigan’s high chair, not from the time he was fatally injured, and on Currie’s clothes, the prosecution said.

The jury delivered its verdicts after deliberating for nearly 13 hours.

The defendants did not sit in the dock together but heard the verdicts separately.

They will be sentenced at a later date.

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