Court hears woman shook baby causing ‘catastrophic’ injuries

A woman who shook a fourth month old baby and gave it a serious brain injury will avoid jail.

Jamie-Lee Cooper, 30, of Mill Lane, Billinghay, initially claimed that the child refused a bottle and then went floppy.

But she later went onto admit that she had shaken the little girl, referred to in Lincoln Crown Court as Baby C.

John McNally, prosecuting, said that Cooper rang her mother and then her husband fo advice before calling the emergency services.

He said: “The history she gave as to why the child was as it was, is inaccurate.

“A paramedic was there in a very short time. It was established the child was seriously injured. She had sustained brain injury as a result of being shaken by the defendant that morning.”

Baby C was taken by air ambulance to Lincoln County Hospital and later transferred to the Queen’s Medical Centre at Nottingham.

A scan revealed how the child had experienced trauman to the brain, and there was acute and chronic bleeding to the brain.

When the police interviewed the defendant, she denied causing grevious bodily harm by shaking the baby.

Mr McNally said that that as a result of what she said Cooper’s husband remained a suspect until she made a statement in which she admitted shaking the child once or twice.

A consultant said that Baby C is likely to have a significant neurological defect, but it will be years before she can be fully assessed.

He said that there were worrying features of behaviour which suggests she may be severely handicapped and may need to receive life-long nursing care.

Cooper was given a 22 month jail sentence suspended for two years with a 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

In passing sentence, Judge John Pini QC told Cooper: “The addendum to the report shows that you have remorse, guilt and shame about your actions.

“My judgement overall is that the mitigating features outweigh the aggravating features.

“This is an utterly tragic case. It is a profoundly difficult sentencing.”

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said that Cooper has been diagnosed with Turner Syndrome which she has suffered from since childhood.

He said she also suffered from a form of depression and he told the court “On the day in question she woke up feeling exhausted, tearful, over-whelmed and alone. That brought her to breaking point.

“At the time of the offence she had not been given the tools to cope. That is of enormous significance. She has since accessed those tools.”

Mr Watson said that “a raft of references” had been submitted from people who spoke extremely highly of Cooper.

“There is enormous remorse. It is clear that she is a well-meaning and good person who was broken by circumstances some of which were not entirely within her control at that time.”