Finding on Charlotte Keen baby death ‘under review’

Renee Jones whose daughter Charlotte Rose Keen died in 2004.

Renee Jones whose daughter Charlotte Rose Keen died in 2004.

A CORONER’S findings into the suspicious death of Wodonga baby Charlotte Rose Keen are still being assessed by the Office of Public Prosecutions.

It is almost a year since coroner Jacinta Heffey held a three-week inquest in Wodonga into Charlotte’s death in 2004.

At the inquest’s conclusion, Ms Heffey indicated it was likely she would hand down her findings in November.

But this was delayed when Ms Heffey later granted a request for an extension on the due date for final submissions to the end of January.

Last year’s inquest ran from August 19 to September 5 and included testimony from Charlotte’s mother, Renee Jones.

Ms Heffey announced in mid-April that she had completed her findings.

But she took the decision to suppress the details out of concern it could interfere with a person’s right to a fair trial.

Ms Heffey said she had formed an opinion about how Charlotte died, but did not want to make that public to prevent this prejudicing a person’s trial if a person was to be charged.

At the time, the informant in the case, Sgt Adam Forehan, said police would have to wait for the OPP to review the case and then provide comments to the chief commissioner.

It was only then that Victoria Police could re-assess the case.

But the now acting Sen-Sgt Forehan has now indicated that “no further determination or action” had been made over the case.

He said the findings remained with the OPP.

Charlotte died in Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital on December 17, 2004, three days before her first birthday.

Medical experts told the inquest she was the victim of shaken baby syndrome, she had a broken arm and was covered in 25 bruises at the time of her death.

Paramedics went to a home in Phefley Court, Wodonga, on December 12, 2004, after receiving a triple-0 call.

She was taken first to the Wodonga emergency department before being transferred to Albury.

Her injuries were so serious that she was later flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Charlotte died five days later, three days before her first birthday.

During the inquest, Ms Jones laid the likely blame for her death with her former boyfriend Brett Penrose, who had been caring for Charlotte on the night of December 11.

Mr Penrose denied outside court at the time that he killed Charlotte.