Drunk mum whose baby son died after she took him clubbing freed from jail on appeal

Marina Tilby, 26, has been freed from jail on appeal (Picture: Wales News Service)
Marina Tilby, 26, has been freed from jail on appeal (Picture: Wales News Service)

A mother whose four-week-old baby died after she took him out on a drinking binge and fell asleep on top of him has been freed from jail on appeal.

Marina Tilby, 26, from Ceredigion, Wales, was initially jailed for two years and four months at Swansea Crown Court in June after admitting child cruelty through wilful neglect.

Her son Darrian was rushed to hospital on March 29, 2017, after she was found lying on him after a night out at Quay West caravan park in New Quay, Ceredigion.

Doctors battled to save the baby but he was later pronounced dead.

Tilby's son died after she took him on a night out (Wales News Service)
Tilby's son died after she took him on a night out (Wales News Service)

The judge for the appeal told the court that Tilby and her sister drank Guinness in a pub before heading to the club house at Quay West park at about 8.30pm.

Witnesses saw Tilby holding the baby while dancing and CCTV footage showed her holding him above her head and throwing him in the air before catching him.

The sisters met three men who were staying at the caravan park and went back to their caravan at the end of the evening.


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Tilby fed Darrian before putting him down on a double bed and then going to sleep next to him in the early hours of March 30.

When her sister came to look for her a short while later she found Tilby lying on top of Darrian, who was unresponsive with blood on his nose.

Despite efforts to wake her, Tilby was unable to be roused from her sleep for an hour and a quarter while the baby was taken to Bronglais Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Medical evidence was unable to rule out the possibility that Darrian’s death was caused by sudden infant death syndrome before Tilby had rolled on to him.

Swansea Crown Court (Getty Images)
Swansea Crown Court (Getty Images)

Mr Justice Fraser said a victim impact statement from the baby’s father made it clear he would have looked after his son on the night in question if he had been asked.

The judge said psychological reports revealed Darrian’s death had a “significant impact” on Tilby’s mental health and she had suffered a “deep depression”.

Sentencing Tilby in June, Judge Paul Thomas told her she had shown “deliberate disregard” for her son’s welfare.

But her barrister, Dyfed Thomas, argued on Tuesday that her sentence was too long and could have been suspended in the circumstances of the case.

The judge said her offending was “one evening of neglect involving a lapse of judgment”, rather than a prolonged period, and Darrian was “otherwise well cared for”.

Tilby has now been freed from prison after judges at the Court of Appeal in London reduced her sentence to 16 months and suspended it.

Allowing her appeal, Mr Justice Fraser said the original sentence was “manifestly excessive” in light of her genuine remorse and her own suffering.

The court ordered Tilby to undergo supervision by the Probation Service for one year.

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