Father denies murder of baby girl

A drug-taking dad killed his baby daughter when he became frustrated she would not stop crying at night, a court heard.

Tuesday, 18th October 2016, 4:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:52 pm
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Daisy Mae Burrill was just two months old when she suffered fatal head and brain injuries at the hands of her dad John Burrill, 30.

Preston Crown Court heard Burrill, of Gordon Road, Fleetwood, was “moody” at being woken up for a second time during the night, when the little girl cried for her bottle at around 5.45am on March 11.

He told his partner: “I’ve been up for hours, I’ll get up” and took the baby downstairs to prepare her feed.

Burrill denies murder.

The girl’s mum, Ashlee Cox, heard her partner trying to “shush’ the baby and the sound of the kitchen tap running, and assumed Burrill was cooling the bottle.

But when he returned to the bedroom, Daisy Mae was limp and floppy in his arms, with blue lips and was not breathing.

Burrill smelt strongly of cannabis, and admitted he had smoked a joint while he was downstairs. The little girl had gone into cardiac arrest as a result of “non-accidental injuries”, the court heard.

Emergency services were called to the house at around 6.30am to find Daisy-Mae’s mother Ashlee attempting to resuscitate the little girl.

Daisy-Mae was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital (pictured left) where a CT scan revealed she had a large fracture to her skull, a large blood clot and signs of brain damage.

Doctors concluded the injuries were ‘non-accidental’ and Daisy Mae was transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital. Her life support was later switched off.

Home Office pathologist Dr Alison Armer carried out a post-mortem examination and concluded Daisy-Mae’s injuries were either caused by her chest being squeezed, or she was violently shaken and her head came into contact with a hard surface or she was gripped by her legs and swung against a hard or firm surface.

Andrew O’Byrne QC, prosecuting, said: “We say that the person who injured that child was the defendant and that in doing so he at the very least intended to cause the child serious injury.”

Burrill told medical staff he had gone to feed the baby and found her limp in her Moses basket.

He could not explain how she sustained the injuries to her skull.

But on the day the trial started at Preston Crown Court, Burrill admitted he was responsible for Daisy-Mae’s injuries. Mr O’Byrne QC said: “He says he threw her onto a sofa upon which were hard objects.

“He then rushed upstairs carrying Daisy-Mae and suggests she may have suffered shaking injuries by carrying the child in that manner up the stairs and into her mother’s bedroom.

“His account was he acted in frustration at Daisy-Mae’s continuous crying and that account makes him guilty of manslaughter.

“We (the prosecution) say that he has come up with that account now not with a view to properly explain what has happened but with a view to mislead you, the jury.

“We say that John Burrill assaulted the baby and did so violently with the result that Daisy Mae suffered a fracture of her skull and brain damage and died three days later.”