Dad Sam Gildea jailed for violently shaking baby Alfie to death

Tania Snuggs, news reporter

A father who killed his baby son by violently shaking him has been jailed for 15 years.

Sam Gildea, 30, from Partington, Greater Manchester, admitted the manslaughter of four-month-old Alfie in an "act of deliberate and unlawful violence".

Mum Caitlin McMichael, 25, found the child unconscious when she returned from the doctor's on 12 September 2018.

Alfie was taken to hospital with significant traumatic head injuries, but died two days later.

Gildea was due to stand trial for murder, but the Crown accepted the alternative count of manslaughter.

He also admitted a charge of controlling or coercive behaviour towards Ms McMichael during their relationship.

A court heard he would accuse her of cheating, and argued about her seeing her friends.

He had grabbed her face or neck and pulled her hair, as well as threatening more serious violence.

Last July, Gildea had been arrested after complaints from a neighbour. He was subsequently given a domestic violence prevention order which banned him from contact with his partner for a month.

On Friday, he was sentenced to 13 years in jail for manslaughter and two additional years for the controlling behaviour.

He must serve an extended licence period of four years on his release.

The court heard he had a history of involvement with mental health services and blood samples taken the day after his son's death showed traces of cocaine and cannabis in his system, consistent with recent use.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Ms McMichael said: "I will never watch my boy grow, receive a card on Mother's Day or hear him call me mummy."

Following sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Colin Larkin said: "I know I speak not only on behalf of the family but on behalf of every single parent out there when I say this case is truly heartbreaking in every sense of the word.

"How anyone can do this to such an innocent little boy who was unable to even try and defend himself is inconceivable.

"Gildea stripped himself of the title of Alfie's father when he violently took away his life, the one person who should have protected him against all odds.

"From today, Alfie's name and the precious memories his mother and the rest of his family have will live on forever and he can be remembered as the beautiful, smiley little man he was."