A 31-year-old man who murdered his partner’s baby in a “violent assault” that left the infant with serious brain injuries has been jailed.
Kane Mitchell attacked two-month-old Teddie Mitchell by gripping him hard, shaking him “vigorously” and striking his head against a hard surface, Cambridge Crown Court heard previously. It was suggested this happened after he lost his temper with the crying baby.
The infant suffered fractures to his skull, ribs and collar bone, the latter two caused by Mitchell squeezing Teddie with force, as well as spinal and eye injuries.
Teddie and Mitchell, who is not his father, lived in a St Neots flat with the boy’s 29-year-old mother Lucci Smith.
She was found guilty of cruelty to a child for not calling an ambulance for the baby sooner.
On Friday, Mitchell was given life in prison with a minimum of 18 years behind bars.
Justice Knowles said Mitchell did not intend to kill the child but “in sudden temper and frustration with Teddie” he did mean to “cause really serious harm” to him.
During trial, prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said Teddie “received fatal injuries” as he was gripped, shook and and his head struck a surface on 1 November 2019.
“In the course of that he suffered rib fractures, fractures to his collar bone and a fractured skull,” he said.
“The forces involved gave him serious brain injuries from which he died.”
Matthew Jewell QC, mitigating for Mitchell, said his “spontaneous loss of temper” could have happened in response to Teddie’s crying, but said there was no on-going neglect.
The child died in hospital on 11 November aged just 12 weeks old.
Mitchell, who has children from a previous relationship, was convicted of murder and causing or allowing serious harm to a child following a trial.
Khalil said mother Smith left Teddie alone with Mitchell for about 15 minutes as she went on the school run. She told police her son was not taking his milk when she returned at about 9am.
He said Smith failed to act when it “was obvious that Teddie was very seriously ill”. The boy would make high-pitched squeals when he moved after being taken out of his cot, Smith said.
She made a series of calls to her local surgery and was expected to arrive there by 2pm but she said she could not go until she had done the afternoon school run, Khalil said.
After being urged to call an ambulance at about 2.30pm, Smith eventually dialled 999 just after 3pm.
The judge said: “Her failure to obtain earlier medical help couldn’t have saved Teddie – it could have spared him some pain and suffering.”
Jurors cleared her of causing or allowing the death of a child, and of causing or allowing serious harm to a child.
Smith was given two-year community order, with the judge noting that she had already spent several months in prison while remanded in custody ahead of her trial.
The judge said while Teddie’s injuries were a “direct result” of Mitchell’s action, Smith was “unaware” but “it was obvious to her something was seriously wrong”.
There is evidence that Smith “cared about… and loved” Teddie, and that Mitchell was an “overbearing partner”, the judge said.
Watch: What you can and can’t do in lockdown