Teenager admits shaking 23-day-old baby to death causing ‘catastrophic’ injuries

Chiara Giordano
Thomas Haining, 21, who has pleaded guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh of shaking his 23-day-old baby to death: Andrew Milligan/PA

A teenage father who admitted shaking his 23-day-old baby to death was led away to the cells to cries of “you murdering f****** b******, conning everyone”.

Thomas Haining was 19 when he inflicted “catastrophic and unsurvivable” brain injuries on his newborn daughter Mikayla, leaving her in a coma with a fractured skull and several broken ribs.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how the killer had stayed up on the night of 7 June, 2017, to look after baby Mikayla, who had been “unsettled” in the few days before her death, crying more than usual and suffering from diarrhoea.

With his ex-girlfriend Shannon Davies asleep upstairs in their Inverness home, Haining claimed to have taken Mikayla out of her Moses basket to feed her in the early hours of 8 June, after which he said she became sleepy and unresponsive.

Phone records showed Haining – described by his ex-partner as “being in a panic” – had made four internet searches during this time in a bid to find out information about babies being in a coma and querying: “What happens if a newborn baby is shake [sic] hard?”

Paramedics were called and, unable to resuscitate the infant, took her to hospital where she was placed in intensive care with a ventilator, having suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of the head trauma.

Later that afternoon, with medics concluding Mikayla’s head injuries meant “survival was unlikely”, the baby was taken off life support and placed into her mother’s arms where she died at 4.46pm.

  • Read more

Haining was charged with murder, but denied he had killed his daughter for more than two years.

Crown prosecutors told the court that on 5 September they had accepted a guilty plea from Haining to the charge of culpable homicide, rather than the original charge of murder, arguing it was “in the public interest” for the case not to go to trial.

When the judge asked for an explanation of the Crown decision to accept the lesser plea, the advocate depute replied: “The view was taken that a plea of culpable homicide would be acceptable in the context provided for the injuries.”

The prosecuting lawyer said it was possible a case could be made Haining had acted with “wicked recklessness”.

http://players.brightcove.net/624246174001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5837728067001

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

He added: “There was a loss of control from the accused when he was looking after Mikayla in the early hours of the morning for a short period of time which had catastrophic consequences.”

The judge, Lord Pentland, said he would remand Haining in custody until sentencing on 15 October, with a social work report to be carried out in the meantime to support any mitigation from the defence.

Haining, now 21 and wearing a black suit and tie with black trainers, was led away following shouts of “you murdering f***ing bastard, conning everyone” from a man in the public gallery.

Additional reporting by Press Association

Read more

Read more Mother whose baby died after she took him out drinking freed from jail