Christmas death baby’s injuries ‘caused by traumatic attack’

14:38 27 January 2014

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court.

Archant

A ten-month-old who died after an alleged Christmas Day attack had trauma injuries to her head, a jury have been told.

Baby Kimberly Barrett had a combination of injuries which caused her death and could not be explained by an accident or by natural causes, according to a leading pathologist.

Her mother’s ex boyfriend James Hunt is on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of causing the fatal injuries during an attack on Christmas night 2011 when he was in sole charge of the child.

He denied causing her any harm and says the only accident she suffered was a bang on the head against the side of her cot when she suddenly went floppy as he was putting her to bed.

Home Office consultant pathologist Dr Nathaniel Carey said this could not explain the injuries which killed her and said her death was caused either by violent shaking or by impact with a hard or even soft object.

He said he found three different areas of bruising on the back of her head, the forehead, and an ear which suggested non accidental injury.

Kimberley was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on Boxing Day evening after collapsing into a coma her mother Hayley Bradshaw’s home in Spencer Court, Ottery St Mary. She died on December 29 at the Bristol Children’s Hospital.

The prosecution say Hunt inflicted the fatal injuries while left alone with Kimberley for less than an hour on Christmas evening while Hayley visited a neighbour who lived on his own.

He had earlier gone to the neighbour’s flat to ask Hayley to come back because the baby was ‘kicking off’ but when she went home she found she found he had put Kimberley to bed and everything was quiet.

The child was ill when she checked her later that evening and remained unwell until her condition deteriorated 24 hours later and she fell into a coma.

Dr Carey told the jury that Kimberly had a combination of injuries known as a Triad which are indicative of shaking or other traumatic injury.

The three key elements are bleeding beneath a protective layer around the brain known as a dura, brain damage caused by lack of oxygen or the blood which carries it, and bleeding inside the retinas of both eyes.

He said in addition to these features there were other findings in the form of bruising inside the back of the head, on the forehead and on one ear, bleeding inside the optic nerve and around the inside of the eyes.

There was also bleeding inside the spinal column which may indicate it had been subject of rapid movement. In the absence of any other explanation, the fatal injuries must be non accidental.

He said: “It is likely the child’s head struck something but I cannot exclude the use of a weapon. The bruises under the scalp were typical of blunt impact. There must have been a significant force in this impact.

“The fall against the bars of the cot which the defendant mentioned to police could not have caused the multiplicity of sub scalp bruises seen here.

“Each of the components of the triad are present and we do not have an accidental explanation, so it is a presumption these are inflicted injuries. There can be no other explanation.

“There are two possible mechanisms. One is what is known as shaking injuries and there is also the possibility of impact injuries. I found evidence at post mortem of such injuries at three different sites on the head.

“Shaking involves moving a baby in such a way the head rocks backwards and forwards in such a way the structures and bridging veins between the brain and the dura are susceptible to being torn in movement.

“The blood found in the spinal cord may be caused by shaking or the spine curving one way and back the other, damaging the blood vessels.

“It all points to trauma and nothing else. There are injuries additional to the triad.”

Dr Carey said Hunt’s description of Kimberley going floppy on Christmas night was indicative that she had experienced an abrupt change in her condition and the delay in her falling into a coma was caused by the swelling of her brain to the point where she lost consciousness 24 hours later.

The trial continues.

Other News Stories

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view

Ottery’s community has united in opposition to a proposed 100-acre quarry that has been slammed as ‘shocking’ and ‘detrimental to the town’.

Read more
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Sidmouth Lifeboat's new tractor

The vital role of launching and recovering Sidmouth Lifeboat can continue with renewed vigour after the arrival of the crew’s new tractor.

Read more
Friday, July 3, 2015
Baby Beaver.
Tom Buckley/Devon Wildlife Trust

Residents eager to find out more about the first baby beavers born on the River Otter are invited to attend a public meeting.

Read more
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7712-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

A £500,000 budget has been proposed for the district council to provide dedicated gypsy sites across East Devon.

Read more
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Alan Durrant, chairman of Sid Vale Association, presents Dr Duncan Hall of the Beacon Medical Centre with a donation towards the planting of trees and shrubs around the grounds. Ref shs 9545-25-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Sidmouth’s multimillion-pound medical centre has received a boost to its £16,000 project to improve the look of its car park.

Read more
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Wood(bury) Stock 2015. Doctors Orders. Photo: Neil Ewins.

A successful blues, roots and folk music festival took place recently at Woodbury’s Malsters Arms.

Read more
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Branscombe Preschool achieved an 'outstanding' result from their latest Ofsted inspection. Ref shb 9478-25-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Ofsted has give staff at Branscombe Pre-school top marks for their “innovative and exciting programme” after their latest inspection.

Read more
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Devon County Council is planning to close Green Close Care Home to cut costs

Sidmouth’s Green Close is being offered for tender and could reopen as a care home, offer other social care – or be converted into housing.

Read more
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7712-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

The welfare of an endangered bat population at East Devon District Council’s Knowle site could be in jeopardy if planned building works go ahead, say worried residents.

Read more
St Saviours

Hopes of creating a new community hub and premises for Ottery Library have been dashed as county councillors ‘dug in their feet’ over conditions.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition



Devon's trusted business finder