Rugby player dad jailed for nine years for shaking newborn son to death

Baby Cody died after he was shaken by his father. (WalesNews)

A semi-professional rugby player has been jailed for nine years for shaking his 15-week-old son to death leaving him with fatal head injuries.

Sportsman Matthew Jones, 26, has been found guilty of manslaughter after his baby Cody Jones-Williams died in hospital following the horrific ordeal on December 8, 2016.

Jones, of Ebbw Vale in Wales, was cleared of murder at the hearing at Newport Crown Court.

Judge Mr Justice Simon Picken said Jones had not intended to kill Cody but had “lost it” and became “frustrated” when he could not stop his baby from crying.

Matthew Jones was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter in court. (WalesNews)

Paula Williams, 26, had left their baby with his dad, who played rugby for Ebbw Vale and Newbridge, when the tragedy happened on December 7, 2016.

Jones said the baby had received his injuries when he fell from his arms but the court found that the father had used “deliberate violence”.

Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC said mum Paula had returned home to find Cody "floppy" and he was rushed to hospital.

Matthew Jones was left alone with his baby for no more than an hour when the incident happened. (Wales News)

At hospital a scan showed a subdural haemorrhage on the left side of his brain and further bleeding to the right side.

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as "a catastrophic head injury" and Cody's injuries were referred to a specialist.

Mr Lewis said: "Expert medical opinion is that the low-level fall from the defendant's arms onto a bed could never have caused the retinal haemorrhages observed.

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"A specialist in the field said the type of scenario that might cause such injury is a high-speed car crash."

Mr Lewis said: "He concluded that what was to be seen was likely to be due to an episode of abusive head trauma, involving a shaking mechanism."

Mr Lewis said Cody had also suffered "older injuries" including a fractured shoulder, broken ribs and a bleed on the brain.

During the court hearing, Jones said: “I know I failed as a father. I failed as a father and I can’t deal with that fact. It’s heartbreaking and it’s gut-wrenching.”

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