Jeffrey Baldwin (20 January 1997 - 30
November 2002) was a Canadian child whose death from septic shock
after years of mistreatment by his grandparents, Elva Bottineau
and Norman Kidman, led to significant changes in policy by
children's aid societies in the granting of custody of children to
Baldwin was born in Doctor's Hospital in Toronto,
the son of Yvonne Kidman and Richard Baldwin. On 28 April 1998, he and
his older sister were taken by the Catholic Children's Aid Society
after allegations of abuse were levelled against their parents. They
were given into the custody of their maternal grandparents, Elva
Bottineau and Norman Kidman.
In 2000, a worker with the Catholic Children's Aid
Society noticed a bruise under Baldwin's eye, but this was dismissed
as an accident and no action was taken.
According to later court testimony, Baldwin and his
sister were kept in a locked room at night with furnace vents shut,
and when released were forced to eat with their hands from a mat on
the floor. James Mills, the boyfriend of Baldwin's aunt who also lived
in the house, declared that Baldwin's grandmother did not love him or
his sister, and that they were purely a "dollars and cents" matter, as
his grandparents received social assistance for their care.
On the evening of 30 November 2002, his grandmother
called 911 to report that he was not breathing. Upon arrival,
emergency workers noticed that his body was "covered in sores, bruises
and abrasions". His weight at death was slightly less than his weight
at his first birthday, almost five years earlier.
On 19 March 2003, his grandparents were arrested
and charged with first-degree murder for their role in his death. The
trial heard they had kept Jeffrey locked in a bedroom, where he lived
in his own feces, and left him to drink from a toilet. The judge was
told that the pair used the children as a source of income, collecting
government support cheques while offering little in return.
On 7 April 2006 they were convicted of
second-degree murder by Justice David Watt in Ontario Superior Court.
Sentencing was delivered on 9 June 2006. Bottineau was sentenced to 22
years in prison (Until 2023) and Kidman 20 years (Until 2021), before
they respectively become eligible for parole.
Appeals dismissed for couple convicted in
Toronto boy’s 2002 starvation death
Alexandra Posadzki - The Canadian Press
March 3, 2011
Two appeals in the horrific case of a five-year-old
boy who starved to death in his grandparents’ home were dismissed
Thursday by Ontario’s highest court.
Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman of Toronto had
asked the Court of Appeal for Ontario to overturn their second-degree
murder convictions in the 2002 death of Jeffrey Baldwin.
Bottineau and Kidman were convicted in 2006 and
sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 22 and 20 years,
Jeffrey weighed only 21 pounds and was covered in
sores when he died in November 2002 from complications due to chronic
Bottineau’s lawyer conceded in court Wednesday that
the facts of the case were “shocking.” But James Stribopoulos argued
Bottineau’s conviction should be overturned because the trial judge
“swept away evidence of Bottineau’s highly incapacitated mental
Bottineau’s IQ of 69 — borderline mental
retardation — prevented her from understanding that malnutrition was
likely to kill the boy, Stribopoulos said.
Justice David Doherty, one of the three judges who
heard the appeal, said the trial judge had taken Bottineau’s low
intellect 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,” Doherty said Thursday.
The judges also dismissed arguments that 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,” Doherty said
“There’s all kinds of evidence that he knocked this
Kidman was Bottineau’s longtime common-law partner.
The pair were designated as legal guardians for Jeffrey and his
sister, who had suffered abuse at the hands of their birth parents.
Bottineau and 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
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 Kidman, had asked
court to quash Kidman’s murder conviction and instead send him to
prison for manslaughter.
Litkowski had argued that Bottineau was the one who
set the rules of the house and fed and disciplined the children, while
Kidman spent most of his days at work and had little direct contact
with the kids.
Kidman’s passivity was morally reprehensible, but
it did not make him a murderer, Litkowski told court.
The judges’ ruling upheld the Crown’s argument that
the pair had raised the same issues at trial and there is no reason to
interfere with that judge’s decision.
Written reasons for the Appeal Court decision will
be issued at a later date.
Couple guilty of 2nd-degree murder in grandson's
April 9, 2006
A Toronto couple was found guilty of second-degree
murder Friday in the death of their five-year-old grandson, who
basically starved to death in 2002 after being abused for much of his
The verdict in the case of young Jeffrey Baldwin
was made public by Justice David Watt, who read his 500-page decision
to a packed courtroom.
The grandparents, Norman Kidman, 53, and Elva
Bottineau, 54, had pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. The boy,
who had been placed in their care as a foster child, died of septic
shock – a reaction to a severe infection
The couple will return to court Wednesday to set a
date for their sentencing. Under Canadian law, the couple were
sentenced automatically to life in prison. But the judge has the
discretion to increase the parole ineligibility from the minimum of 10
years to a maximum of 25 years.
Shortly after the decision was announced in Ontario
Superior Court, Dr. Barry McLellan, the province's chief coroner,
announced that an inquest would be held.
The inquest will include "the Toronto Catholic
Children's Aid Society's involvement in Jeffrey's placement and the
role that agency, and others, had in monitoring his well-being prior
to his death," McLellan said in a release.
Boy, 5, a shadow of kids his age
The court was told Jeffrey was kept in a locked
room and forced to sleep in his own excrement. When he died just shy
of his sixth birthday, he weighed less than a healthy one-year-old.
James Mills, a boyfriend of Jeffrey's aunt and one
of six adults – including Kidman and Bottineau – who lived in the same
subsidized east-end Toronto house, testified that he was at home
playing video games the night Jeffrey died.
Mills said he had trouble sleeping that night, and
heard Jeffrey crying in his bedroom around 2 a.m.
There was an inconclusive discussion among some of
the adults about taking him to the hospital but no action was taken.
"Then after that it was dead quiet," Mills said.
Mills testified that Jeffrey was "treated like a
dog" and would have been "better off at the humane society."
According to Mills, Jeffrey was not an ordinary
child being looked after and even loved by foster parents. Rather, he
was a "dollars and cents" matter for his grandmother, who also cared
for Jeffrey's sister.
"The kids were her only source of income. She
didn't want to lose that and would do everything in her power not to."
When emergency crews found Jeffrey's body, it was
covered with sores and abrasions.
Jeffrey's death prompts changes
When the horrifying details of Jeffrey's treatment
and death became public at the trial, the Catholic Children's Aid
Society said a terrible mistake had been made, and, in the future, any
relative wanting to take custody of a child would be thoroughly
Since then, the coroner's office, the provincial
government, children's aid societies across the province, and
family-court judges have also taken action.
The province has introduced legislation to make
house visits and criminal background checks mandatory before relatives
can take custody of children.
Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman
Norman Kidman, speaking to police on November 30, 2002, a few hours
after his five-year-old emaciated grandson was found dead at their
east-end Toronto home.
Jeffrey Baldwin, 5, weighed only 21 pounds and was covered in sores
when he died in November 2002 from complications due to chronic