A father who violently shook his infant daughter has been jailed for 14 years for her manslaughter.
Christopher Easey’s 14-week-old daughter Eleanor was found by pathologists to have sustained a catastrophic brain injury “consistent with having been violently shaken”, judge Mr Justice Edward Murray said.
The 31-year-old, of Little Thetford, Cambridgeshire, was found guilty of manslaughter after jurors rejected his account that he “dropped Eleanor on her head having been distracted by the dogs barking”, the judge said.
The judge told Norwich Crown Court he was “sure” Easey was the one who “inflicted all the serious injuries Eleanor suffered”, which included 31 rib fractures.
He said the girl’s mother, Carly Easey, “didn’t know (her) husband was injuring (their) baby and had done so on multiple occasions”.
Both 36-year-old Carly Easey, of Chedburgh, Suffolk, and Christopher Easey were found guilty of child cruelty.
Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, said a post-mortem examination recorded that Eleanor was poorly nourished, had a prominent ribcage and reduced muscle bulk in her limbs.
The judge said both parents had “at times given her diluted squash to drink instead of milk”, and described it as “wholly inappropriate” that she was given a lick of a custard cream biscuit.
He said both parents had “abandoned” Eleanor “on at least one occasion for a significant time”.
Carly Easey was sentenced to a 12-month community order with requirements to take part in a specified programme of activities.
Elizabeth Marsh QC, mitigating for Carly Easey, said Eleanor “was killed through no action or inaction” by her mother.
“She feels extreme guilty for failing to protect her baby from the man who deceived her,” she said.
Sally O’Neill QC, mitigating for Christopher Easey, said he will “carry to his grave… the knowledge what he did caused the injuries to his baby daughter”.
She described him as a “very inexperienced father”.
Eleanor was taken to hospital on December 18, 2019 after being found unresponsive at home.
A scan showed she had a significant head injury and recent bleeding between her skull and brain.
She was later transferred from hospital in Norwich to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where doctors confirmed she had suffered a catastrophic brain injury.
She died on December 20, 2019.
Tests showed Eleanor had suffered bleeds to her brain on three separate occasions, the most recent within 48 hours of her being admitted to hospital.
A Home Office post-mortem examination established her cause of her death as a head injury.