Cambridgeshire father who violently shook his 14-week-old daughter given 14-year jail term for her manslaughter
A Cambridgeshire father who violently shook his baby daughter has been jailed for 14 years for her manslaughter.
Pathologists found Christopher Easey’s 14-week-old daughter Eleanor had sustained a catastrophic brain injury “consistent with having been violently shaken”, judge Mr Justice Edward Murray said.
Easey, 31, from the village of Little Thetford, to the south of Ely, 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, was not aware that 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 rib cage 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, formerly of Old Roman Bank, Terrington St Clement in Norfolk, had “abandoned” Eleanor “on at least one occasion for a significant time”.
Carly Easey, now of Elizabeth Drive, Chedburgh, 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, adding: “She feels extremely guilty for failing to protect her baby from the man who deceived her.”
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 a 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.
Following the sentencing, Det Insp Lewis Craske, who led the investigation on behalf of the Norfolk and Suffolk major investigation team, said: “Chris Easey has been found guilty of killing of his baby daughter.
“It is the awful truth that she died at the hands of the very man who should have taken care of her; someone who should have cared for her and shown unconditional love.
“Sadly, that wasn’t the case and little Eleanor was neglected for much if not all her very short life.
“Finding out what happened in that family during Eleanor’s life and on that terrible evening in December 2019 has always been our priority. I know we did that and presented our findings.
“This was a very emotive investigation, and the memories of it will remain with us for quite some time.”
A review of the case is under way.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Baby Eleanor’s parents had a responsibility to care for and protect their child, but in her short life she was neglected by her mother and subjected to cruelty by her father. We know that it is the youngest children who are the most vulnerable to abuse and neglect,
“It is vital that the lessons from the child safeguarding practice review are fully taken on board.”