Parents jailed over death of eight-week-old daughter

Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent
·2-min read

The mother and father of a baby girl who died at her Sussex home have been jailed over her tragic death.

Holly Roe was just eight weeks old when paramedics found her not breathing and with no heart activity.

Despite attempts to revive her, she was pronounced dead a couple of hours later on September 10, 2018.

Her father Michael Roe told “lie after lie” and sought to pin the blame for the death on the baby’s mother, a court heard.

However a trial found that Holly, who had been born two months prematurely, died at her father’s hands.

She had suffered “forceful shaking, traumatic impact, or both”, a court heard on Friday.

A judge also criticised her mother for allowing the death of her baby.

Michael Roe was found guilty of her murder on Wednesday, while her mother Tiffany Tate was found guilty of allowing her death.

They appeared at Hove Crown Court on Friday for sentencing.

Roe, 33, of Alderbrook Close, Crowborough, was jailed for life with a minimum of 19 years.

The 555 days he has spent on remand will count towards the minimum term.

Tate, 22, was jailed for two years and nine months.

Sentencing Roe, Mr Justice Edward Murray said: “When you get frustrated you would lose your temper and lash out, unfortunately for baby Holly one lashing out proved fatal.

“Clearly you had a position of trust in relation to Holly – the highest possible as her father – which you abused.”

He told the court how Roe and Tate each “blamed the other” in the aftermath of the death of their child.

“Your efforts Michael Roe to pin the blame on Tiffany Tate began even before Holly’s death.”

Mr Justice Murray said he took into account Tate’s lack of maturity and status as a looked-after person.

Lewis Power QC, defending Roe, cited Roe’s traumatic childhood, including incidents of physical abuse.

“This clearly in this case appears to have repeated itself,” he told the court.

He also made reference to Roe’s previous good character.

Danny Robinson, defending Tate, argued that there was “no evidence” that she directly witnessed or learned of any shaking of Holly.

He added that she had co-operated with the investigations throughout.