After an 18-month legal battle Mr Justice Moylan yesterday (Thursday) made public the findings of a three-week Family Court ‘findings of fact’ inquiry from February of last year.
In it, the judge described Victoria Rogers, 27, as a volatile woman and “an unreliable witness”.
The release of the report was made after Summer’s mum failed in an appeal against Mr Justice Moylan’s verdict.
She had introduced new witnesses in an attempt to blacken the name of her then-boyfriend Craig Sharp, who she blamed for causing Summer catastrophic brain injuries.
The publication comes a week after a Coroner at Bradford delivered an inquest verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ in the Thornhill tot’s death.
Summer was found on the morning of February 27, 2012 lying lifeless in her cot, by her maternal grandmother Susan Rogers.
Despite frantic efforts to revive the toddler her life-support machine was switched off shortly after midnight of the same day.
The verdict, and the Family Court report, heaps massive pressure on both West Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service who have refused to prosecute anyone owing to insufficient evidence.
This week Summer’s grandfather James Ratcliffe – his son and Summer’s dad Joss was estranged from Victoria Rogers – heaped scorn on the police investigation, which was shown in the Bradford inquest to have missed several ‘obvious’ lines of inquiry.
The ratcliffe family’s barrister is preparing an appeal to the Director of Public Prosecutions to reconsider the evidence, and are filing a complaint about the police handling of the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The new report details how Summer, who had been off colour for a few days, threw a tantrum and angered her mother after being brought home from a weekend with the Ratcliffes.
At one point the toddler got out of the house trying to run back to James’s wife Deborah who had brought her back to the house in Nook Green, Thornhill.
Vicky said she put Summer to bed at 6.30pm, that she and Craig went to bed at 9pm, and that she was awoken by the girl crying at 11.30pm when she put the child in their bed while she got her a bottle of milk before putting her back down.
She said she then gave Summer more milk at 5.30am before leaving for work at 6am. Craig Sharp, who the hearing was told had very little to do with Summer, admitted that he never actually went in to see the tot, but simply looked in her bedroom door before leaving for work when Susan Rogers, Vicky’s mum, arrived to babysit at 7.40am.
The judge said he has “no doubt that the mother was acutely distressed by Summer’s tantrum. I am satisfied that the mother is an emotionally fragile person who would have been deeply upset by the episode which followed Summer’s return home on the Sunday.
“The evidence does not, in my judgment, support the conclusion that anything was likely to have happened which would have caused Craig S (stepfather) to lose his self-control in the two hours or so between the mother leaving home and Mrs R arriving.
“The evidence does support, in my judgment, the conclusion that something happened during the course of that night which caused the mother to lose her self-control.
“However hard the decision, having regard to the cumulative effect of all the evidence and, in particular, the matters referred to above, I have come to the clear conclusion that, on the balance of probabilities, the evidence establishes that the injuries sustained by Summer were caused by her mother.”
In evidence, the court was told that Victoria Rogers had been treated for depression and that her relationship with Craig Sharp had been turbulent.
A friend had recommended a mental health visitor to Victoria, but in the weeks before the incident she had missed a number of medical and health visitor appointments.
Summer’s dad Joss had previously raised concerns with Kirklees Social Services about her care, after the child was taken to hospital with unexplained burns which Victoria at first claimed not to know anything about, and then said had been caused by a radiator.
Hospital reports said the scald was consistent with a ‘dipping’ injury. Crucially no Social Services involvement was called in by Dewsbury or Pinderfields Hospital staff – although in last week’s inquest coroner Oliver Longstaff said he did not think that alone would have provided an intervention that would have saved Summer’s life..
The family court findings are not to the level of proof that would be required in a criminal prosecution, hence the CPS deciding not to press charges – a decision they made only after MR Justice Moylan’s original finding.