Murder trial judge says baby suffered injuries ‘like a boxer’
The judge in a trial that today found a Kettering man guilty of killing a baby has said that the murderer had not shown remorse for his violent assault on a ‘happy little person’.
Ryan Coleman, 23, was today sentenced to life imprisonment and told he must serve a minimum of 17 years before being eligible for parole after a jury found him guilty of murdering his partner’s one-year-old daughter on April 26, 2018.
On sentencing Coleman, Mrs Justice Sara Cockerill DBE, said: “It has been submitted that you have shown clear remorse. I do not accept this submission. You have, it is true, shown distress. I do not however accept that it was remorse directed at anyone other than yourself. You have been unwilling to accept your culpability and sorry for yourself for the position in which you find yourself. That offers no mitigation.”
During her summing-up, the judge also praised the efforts of the victim’s mum and medical staff who tried to save her life. She said: “It was only owing to her mother’s timely performance of CPR and the efforts of the skilled first responder, ambulance teams, and teams at Kettering Hospital and Queen’s College Hospital Nottingham that she survived on life support until 29 April 2018.
“It was during this period that the scans and photographs which have formed a key part of the evidence in this trial were performed.
“Those scans, combined with later medical investigation, revealed that the baby had suffered a portfolio of serious brain injuries which were variously described as devastating, catastrophic and unsurvivable.
“She had suffered the kind of damage to the wires in her brain which boxers suffer in a knock out.
“Because she had suffered such severe injury she had stopped breathing and consequently her brain had been starved of oxygen and suffered damage from which she could not recover.
“She had, in short, suffered what one eminent expert of great experience in this field, who was called to give evidence in this case, described as “one of the worst traumatic brain injuries he had seen reported in a child of this age”.
The girl also suffered at least 20 bruising type injuries which could not be accounted for.
In evidence that is too distressing to reproduce, Justice Coleman described tears to the baby’s brain that were the result of blows and slaps to the head and injuries on her face,neck and body that were consistent with squeezing and shaking.
The judge continued: “While the exact sequence of events and number of blows which you inflicted on this defenceless baby are not clear, I am sure and I consider it implicit in the jury’s verdict that they too were sure that more than one mode of assault was used.
“This was a violent and serious assault on an utterly defenceless baby, who was universally described in this trial as a happy little person.
“You caused her terrible injuries. You caused her death. As the jury has found, when you committed the acts which had these awful results, you intended to cause her really serious harm. You must have appreciated that, at the very least, very serious harm was likely to result from your actions.
“Your actions have had wider consequences. I have had full regard to the victim personal statement from the baby’s mother. It makes painful reading, too painful in fact to read out in full in open court.
She says: “Surviving the loss of my baby girl has been the hardest and most painful thing that I and my family have ever had to endure”.
“It speaks eloquently of the terrible loss that she has endured. It is plain to me from that statement that their lives will never be the same again.”