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‘Shaken baby’ injuries worse than car crash, doctor says

15:07 20 January 2014

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court.

Archant

A baby girl who died after allegedly being attacked on Christmas Day had brain injuries which were more severe than those caused by a car crash, a jury have been told.

Kimberley Barrett had a pattern of injuries inside her skull which could not have been caused accidentally and which may be the result of being shaken.

The ten-month-old died three days after being rushed to hospital from her home in Ottery St Mary and four days after she was allegedly attacked by her mother’s boyfriend James Hunt.

Hunt, aged 30, of Pellinore Road, Exeter, denies murdering Kimberley at her mother’s flat in Spencer Court, Ottery, during Christmas 2011.

The jury at Exeter Crown Court have been told Kimberley became ill and then lost consciousness within 24 hours of being left alone with Hunt while her mother Hayley Bradshaw went to visit a neighbour who was spending Christmas Day alone.

The prosecution allege the child had suffered an earlier incident which she survived but suffered fatal brain injuries at Hunt’s hands on Christmas Day night.

Kimberley was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and transferred to the Bristol Children’s Hospital where she died on December 29.

Consultant paediatric radiologist Dr Marcus Likeman, who is based in Bristol, said he examined X rays, MRI and CT scans taken at Exeter and Bristol.

He said they showed a combination of injuries. One set was caused by lack of blood and oxygen to the brain, and the other was bleeding inside the skull.

The former caused Kimberley’s death but the latter were markers or signposts which indicated the cause.

He said the combination of the two finding suggested shaking was the likely mechanism and that the internal bleeding could not have been caused by an accident.

He said: “I considered these to be non accidental injuries. If a child had fallen or been dropped accidentally on its head on a hard floor, the bleeding would only be in one place.

“The combination of injuries occurs when a child is shaken, but this is a controversial area, partly because you could never perform an experiment.

“This is a pattern of non accidental injuries which might be from shaking. I have not seen such a bad brain injury from any kind of accident or from a road accident.”

The trial continues.

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