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Poppi Worthington probe: No evidence of criminality on laptop used by father

UK News | Published:

Cumbria Police initially failed to seize the computer at the time of the toddler’s death.

Poppi Worthington

No evidence of criminality has been found on a laptop thought to have belonged to the father of Poppi Worthington, police have said.

In the hours before the Barrow-in-Furness youngster’s death, Paul Worthington, 50, viewed adult porn on his laptop, but officers did not seize the computer at the time.

It was one of a series of failures by Cumbria Police, who lost vital evidence during their botched investigation which meant no-one has been prosecuted over the 13-month-old’s sexual abuse and death in December 2012.

The laptop was recovered after police arrested a 39-year-old Barrow man in March this year on suspicion of assisting an offender.

On Friday, Cumbria Police said in a statement: “Cumbria Constabulary can confirm that a laptop seized by officers, as part of an investigative inquiry concerning the death of Poppi Worthington, does not contain any evidence of criminal activity.

“The laptop has been subject to meticulous forensic physical and digital examination by accredited forensic examiners in accordance with national best practice. This was subsequently independently assessed by another police force.

“The constabulary are confident that the laptop is the one used by Paul Worthington at the time of Poppi’s death.

Poppi Worthington inquest
Poppi’s father Paul pictured leaving Kendal County Hall following a second inquest into the toddler’s death (Owen Humphreys/PA)

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“All examinations resulted in no evidence of criminality being found.

“The Crown Prosecution Service have been made aware of the results of the laptop examination.”

The 39-year-old man co-operated with the investigation and has been released with no further action.

Paramedics were called to the Worthington family home on the morning of December 12, 2012.

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Poppi was taken to Furness General Hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly after 7am.

An inquest in January found she was anally penetrated in her father’s double bed, although Cumbria coroner David Roberts said her death did not result from the abuse and that the toddler suffocated as she slept next to her father in an “unsafe sleeping environment”.

The ruling came after judgments by a High Court family judge in 2014 and 2016 that – on the balance of probabilities – Poppi was abused by her father shortly before her death.

The Crown Prosecution Service previously ruled Mr Worthington will not face any legal action.

He strenuously denies any wrongdoing and is now living in hiding with the help of police protection.

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