A DAD accused of murdering his premature baby daughter claims he fell on top of her after taking tramadol and smoking cannabis - but did not tell police because he was worried what people would think of him.

Michael Roe, 33, said he landed hard on his baby around an hour before calling paramedics.

He only told police six months after her death as he was scared of what people would say, a court heard.

Post mortem examinations found Holly - who was born two months premature -  suffered at least three separate brain injuries and 12 rib fractures before she died.

Experts who examined her said her injuries had more in common with a car crash than a fall at home.

In his third statement to police, Roe said: “I have kept this secret.

"I have told nobody, what I have not said previously, I tripped on her swing chair, I stumbled forward and fell on the sofa with Holly in my right arm.

“My hand moved forward from her head to her neck.

“Her head hit the corner of the sofa and I fell hard on her chest.”

Roe told police he had smoked a joint and taken tramadol before preparing to give his daughter her midnight bottle.

“I had taken cannabis and tramadol and this was making me feel light headed and drowsy.”

Holly died in September 2018 at the family home in Crowborough, East Sussex.

Roe said he wanted to come clean about what happened on the night his daughter died while arguing for custody of his son from a previous relationship.

During a hearing at the family court six months after Holly died, he made another statement to police.

Roe said he owed the truth to everybody who loved Holly.

“I was scared about what people might say and how they would react.

“It was selfish.”

The Argus: Michael Roe is on trial alongside former partner Tiffany TateMichael Roe is on trial alongside former partner Tiffany Tate

Roe, 33, and his former partner Tiffany Tate, 22, both deny murdering Holly.

They both also accused of allowing the other to kill her.

Consultant Paediatric Pathologist at Alderhey Children’s Hospital Dr Jo Louise McPartland, was asked if the fall could have caused the injuries she found examine Holly’s eyes.

She said: “This was not a severe enough accident to explain the injuries.

“My findings would not be concordant with a domestic fall.”

Danny Robinson QC defending Tate asked Dr McPartland: “If this statement by Mr Roe were true, it couldn’t be responsible for the bleeding you saw.”

Dr McPartland said: “Correct.”

Lewis Power QC defending Roe asked the expert if she thought there was any way his account of a fell could explain the injuries she saw to the infant.

He said: “The account given to you in his third statement was in your view a load of nonsense, wasn’t it?”

Dr McPartland said: “The was a not severe enough accident to explain the injuries.

“My findings would not be concordant with a domestic fall.”

A jury has been told they must decide which one of her parents shook their baby to death.


Violent shaking resulted in parts of the brain moving in different directions, Prof Al-Sarraj told the jury.

The professor described complex brain injuries which killed baby Holly.

Tears to the wiring deep inside her brain could not be explained by any natural causes, he said.

He said: “The brain has violent forward and backward movement consistent with violent accelerations and decelerations.

“These are more likely to be abusive brain injury.

“They are extremely rare in accidental brain injury.”

His findings showed indications of severe, non-accidental head injury.

The professor said the timing of each injury could not be exact.

He said: “The recent injury was likely just before death, another a few days before and another a few weeks before.”

Asked if there could be any explanation other than her injuries were inflicted by somebody else, Prof Al-Sarraj said: “No other explanation.”

Roe said he dialled 999 after finding his baby cold and unresponsive at the family home on September 11, 2018.

Earlier, the court heard he was concerned former partner Tate could have harmed their baby.

During police interviews following the death of baby Holly, Roe said he told a health visitor about his concerns two days before.

He said: “I’ve got a duty as a parent to protect my child.

“If she’s had a baby in her arms and thought about killing her.”

The trial continues.