Monday, December 6, 2021

Parents of six-month-old boy convicted following his death

The father of a six-month-old boy who sustained catastrophic trauma injuries has been convicted of his murder.

Mihai-Catalin Gulie, 28, was today (Monday 25 October) found guilty of the murder of Robert Ion following a three-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Roberts mum, Gabriela Ion, aged 35, was found guilty of causing/allowing his death.

The pair are both due to be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 26 November.

Baby Robert had been diagnosed with Downs Syndrome from birth and had spent the first few months of his life in hospital.

The court heard that on 18 February 2021, Ion had left the family home on Mersey Road, Widnes, at 11.25am to go to the shop before returning a few minutes later at 11.31am. When she got inside the house, she saw Gulie with the baby who said that Robert appeared unwell.

They began to place water on his face in an attempt to revive him and tapped his back.

Gulie, a Romanian national, called a family friend to ring an ambulance as he does not speak English.

When paramedics arrived, they found Robert on the sofa with no signs of life so immediately began CPR.

After six minutes they were able to move Robert to the ambulance before taking him to hospital.

He was placed into an induced coma in order to stabilise him.

On assessment, it was revealed that Robert was in a critical condition and had sustained a skull fracture and an irreversible non-survivable brain injury.

Further tests found Robert had also sustained additional injuries including fractured ribs and a brain injury, which are believed to date back to around 7 February.

Tragically, despite the best efforts of medical staff, Robert passed away three days later on 21 February.

An investigation was launched and officers arrested both parents on suspicion of Robert’s murder and they were subsequently charged.

In an interview with police, Gulie also stated that he loved Robert and would never hurt him – he denied causing any injury to Robert and that he handled him as a ‘jewel’.

He told officers how he had spent £4,000 in taxi fares going to and from hospitals in the first few months of his life.

Police examination of Ion’s phone found that she had been searching how to remove bruises.

Detective Inspector Nigel Parr, who was in charge of the investigation, said: “This has been an extremely difficult and emotional case for all involved. Robert’s death was horrific. He had already fought for the first few months of his life with various health issues only to suffer further and have his life cruelly taken away from him by the people who should have cared for him the most.

“What Gulie and Ion did is unimaginable and they are now facing the consequences of their actions behind bars. I hope that that the verdict reached today will in some way help Robert’s wider family to find some form of closure after an incredibly difficult experience.”

Following the verdict Robert’s wider family said: “The last few months have been incredibly difficult losing Robert so suddenly without knowing the reasons why. We are all very shocked and we still haven’t recovered from this shock yet especially now we have found out what Robert went through.

“Robert was a beautiful, happy, content baby who was cruelly taken away from us in the place where he should have been protected and safe.

“We are a close family and whilst it will take some time to process what has happened, we take comfort from the support we have had from the local community and the police since Robert’s death.

“From the bottom of our hearts we hope that Robert can now finally rest in peace”

DI Parr added: “I would like to thank the team of officers who have worked on this very difficult and challenging case and who have helped to secure these convictions at court and get justice for Robert.”

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