Tuesday, January 14, 2014
A man caused fatal injuries to his partner’s baby daughter on Christmas Day because he was upset at being apart from his children, a jury has been told.
James Hunt shook the ten-month-old girl or slammed her down while he was left alone with the child at her mother’s home in Spencer Court, Ottery St Mary.
He had been in a bad mood all day because he was not able to spend Christmas with his own young son and daughter, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Baby Kimberley Barrett was rushed to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on Boxing Day 2011 and died three days later in the arms of her mother Hayley Bradshaw after being transferred to the Bristol Children’s Hospital.
She died from brain injuries which could only be explained by trauma and which the prosecution say were inflicted while Hunt was left alone with the child on Christmas night.
Hunt, aged 30, of Pellinore Road, Exeter, denies murdering Kimberley.
Mr Martin Meeke, QC, prosecuting, said Hayley left Kimberley in Hunt’s care while she went to see neighbour Keith Gurney, who was alone at Christmas.
While she was there he called her to tell her Kimberley was ‘kicking off’ but when she returned home he told her she was in her cot and ought not to be disturbed.
He said the child had gone floppy while he was looking after her but had then calmed down. He persuaded Hayley not to go into the bedroom so as not to disturb her.
Shortly afterwards Kimberley started vomiting and became even more ill the next day and was rushed to hospital in the evening.
Hunt denied causing any injury when seen by police but said Kimberley’s head had flopped a few inches and hit the bars of her cot while he was looking after her.
Mr Meeke said: “On Christmas Day 2011, this defendant had the care of a baby girl called Kimberley Barrett who was just ten months old.
“At around 7 pm he shook Kimberley so violently or banged her head onto some surface, perhaps more than once, and she suffered a head injury and an injury to her brain from which she died four days later.
“It is clear the baby was playing up and crying and he could not stop that. It was perhaps in temper he shook her violently and then threw her down onto some surface, so as to injure the back of her head.
“You can cause an injury by throwing a child onto a mattress or settee. It does not need to be a hard surface to cause deeper bruising.
“There were injuries to her ear and forehead and anyone treating a ten-month-old baby in this way must have intended to cause really serious harm.
“We say it was not the first time he had assaulted Kimberley and there was evidence of an earlier incident.”
Hunt denies causing any injury and said the only bump the child suffered was on the bars of the cot and happened after Kimberley had already gone floppy while he was looking after her on Christmas Day.
The trial continues.