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Inquest called into death of 5-year-old almost a decade after starvation

Tamsin McMahon  Mar 25, 2011 – 8:59 PM ET

Information From National Post


Nearly a decade after Jeffrey Baldwin starved to death in what a judge termed a locked “dungeon” in his grandparents’ east-end Toronto home, Ontario’s chief coroner has called an inquest into the five-year-old’s death.


Dr. Andrew McCallum announced the inquest on the heels of an Ontario Court of Appeal decision earlier this month (March 3) that rejected an appeal by Jeffrey’s grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, both 59, who were looking to overturn their life sentences for second-degree murder.


With all court proceedings finished, an inquest can now begin to probe Jeffrey’s murder in hopes that a jury can make recommendations to prevent similar deaths, Dr. McCallum said.


The date, location and presiding coroner have not yet been determined.


Jeffrey died on Nov. 30, 2002, just six weeks shy of his sixth birthday, from complications from malnutrition after more than three years of abuse that included being repeatedly locked in his grandparents’ basement for 14 hours a day with almost no food.


In rejecting the grandparents’ appeal of their murder conviction, Ontario appellate court judge David Doherty likened the couple to torturers and said even a child Jeffrey’s age could figure out how to properly care for a living being.


“It is something that a six-year-old child could appreciate,” Justice Doherty said. “If you don’t feed your pets, they die.”


Inquest called into starvation death of five-year-old boy

TORONTO— The Canadian Press

Published Friday, Mar. 25, 2011 10:01PM EDT

Last updated Friday, Mar. 25, 2011 10:05PM EDT

Information from The Globe and Mail



An inquest will be held into the death of a five-year-old boy who died of starvation in his grandparents' Toronto home.


Ontario Chief Coroner Dr. Andrew McCallum says an inquest can be held now that all court proceedings in Jeffrey Baldwin's death have been completed.


Dr. McCallum says the inquest jury will hear evidence regarding the circumstances of the boy's death on Nov. 30, 2002.

More related to this story


    * Appeals dismissed for couple convicted in Toronto boy's starvation death

    * Grandparents sentenced in child's starvation

    * The unbearable darkness of being


Dr. McCallum says the date, location and presiding coroner will be announced at a later date.


Jeffrey weighed only 21 pounds and was covered in sores when he died from complications due to chronic starvation.


Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman were convicted of second-degree murder in Jeffrey's death and their appeal was rejected earlier this month.


Ms. Bottineau and Mr. Kidman were convicted in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 22 and 20 years, respectively.


Mr. Kidman and Ms. Bottineau were designated as legal guardians for Jeffrey and his sister, who had suffered abuse at the hands of their birth parents.


Ms. Bottineau and Mr. Kidman used the children as a source of income, collecting government support cheques in their names while they confined them to a dark, unheated room that reeked of urine and feces.


Ms. Bottineau's lawyer James Stribopoulos had argued his client's conviction should be overturned because the trial judge “swept away evidence of Bottineau's highly incapacitated mental state.”


Justice David Doherty, one of the three judges who heard the appeal, said the trial judge had taken Ms. Bottineau's IQ of 69 — borderline mental retardation — into account when sentencing her to life in prison.


“He finds that she's of limited intellect, but she's also a lying, manipulative person,” Mr. Doherty said in rejecting the appeal.


The judges also dismissed arguments that Mr. Kidman played no part in Jeffrey's abuse.


“He's there every day, his room is next to the dungeon that these kids were being tortured in,” Mr. Doherty said. “There's all kinds of evidence that he knocked this kid around.”


Although Jeffrey and his sister lived in squalor, the rest of the house was normal, including the living quarters of other children in the home.


Richard Litkowski, the lawyer for Mr. Kidman, had asked court to quash Mr. Kidman's murder conviction and instead send him to prison for manslaughter.

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