Father to be sentenced today for baby' death

Father to be sentenced today for baby's death

Father to be sentenced today for baby's death

First published in News

A father who killed his baby daughter after being frustrated by her screaming as he tried to play a computer game will be sentenced today.

Mark Sandland, 28, picked up five-week-old Aimee-Rose and shook her during a sudden loss of temper, prosecutors said.

He claimed he had suffered an epileptic fit and came round to find his daughter underneath him at their flat in Church Road, St Leonards.

Lewes Crown Court heard on Monday that police who attended the flat after Aimee-Rose was rushed to hospital on November 5 2012 found a PlayStation game controller on the sofa opposite the TV.

Prosecutor Sally Howes QC said: "It's the Crown's case that, frustrated by the distraction of Aimee-Rose screaming, the defendant picked her up and gripped her around her torso and shook her in a sudden loss of temper and loss of control.

"Despite his admission that the television was on that morning, by the time the ambulance crew arrived it had been switched off, thus covering up the fact he had been playing the game on his PlayStation."

Analysis of Sandland's mobile phone internet history showed a website offering tips on how to play the computer game, Assassin's Creed 3, was accessed at 2.22pm, Miss Howes said.

The detail of the website, giving step-by-step instruction, meant there would have been little point accessing it unless the game was being played, she added. Some 16 minutes later, at 2.38pm, Sandland dialled 999.

On that day, Aimee-Rose's mother was attending her first class for an applied social science degree course at the University of Brighton's Hastings campus.

During a break at around lunch-time, she sent Sandland a text message asking after Aimee-Rose, to which he replied: "She hasn't shut up since about half an hour after you left."

Aimee-Rose was admitted to the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards with brain damage, and other injuries including bruising to her face, chest, abdomen and lower limbs.

She was then transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit at King's College Hospital, London, but died on November 9 2012.

Miss Howes added: "The combination of the post-mortem findings of recent head injury, recent traumatic laceration of the liver and recent fracture of the left clavicle is consistent with inflicted injury of the shaking/impact type.

"It is the Crown's case that the injuries sustained by Aimee-Rose were inflicted by her father, Mark Sandland, who, during a sudden loss of temper, gripped her around the torso and shook her."

Sandland was charged with murder but went on to plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of lack of intent, which was accepted by the Crown.

He was diagnosed in 2008 with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition of the peripheral nervous system, following which he began experiencing seizures.

The court heard that no medical cause could be found to explain them and he was admitted to numerous hospitals between 2008 and 2012.

Dr Hannah Cock, a consultant neurologist, found it was "highly unlikely" that a seizure was a substantial contributor to Aimee-Rose's injuries, the court heard.

Had he suffered a seizure, Dr Cock would have expected him to drop anything he was holding and remember later, Miss Howes said.

Miss Howes said: "Even if he had fallen on to Aimee-Rose, her pattern of injuries is not consistent with a fall and crushing alone. Dr Cock would have expected more disturbance to adjacent furniture than reported."

Defence counsel Lewis Power QC said Sandland had asked him to convey "contrition and remorse", adding: "He feels that one life is over, but his is too."

Judge Mr Justice Sweeney will sentence Sandland from 10am at Hove Crown Court.

 

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