November 9, 2020 4.18 pm This story is over 42 months old

Lincolnshire man jailed after death of son he shook as baby

Baby sustained severe brain injury and died aged 15

A Lincolnshire man has been jailed for three years after admitting the manslaughter of his son who he shook as a baby, causing severe, irreversible brain injury that contributed to the child’s death as a teenager.

Following a review of Jack Mitchell’s death, John Doak, 37, of Delgate Avenue in Spalding, was summonsed to appear at court in September last year to face a charge of murder.

At Chelmsford Crown Court he admitted manslaughter on Friday, November 6. At the same court on Monday, November 9, John Doak was jailed and the judge said the sentence took into account that he had previously been jailed for four years for causing grievous bodily harm.

Jack was born a healthy child in January 2001 and responded well following his birth, but between March and May that year there were four occasions where he stopped breathing. Jack was medically revived, but there were no signs of what caused these episodes.

Each time his biological father John Doak had been in sole care of him. On the fourth occasion, Jack was rushed to hospital where he was found to have sustained retinal haemorrhages and subdural haematomas – evidence of severe trauma.

A paediatrician believed his injuries to be the result of ‘shaken baby syndrome’. Jack survived, but he had sustained severe, irreversible brain injury.

Doak was arrested and convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and sentenced to four years in prison in 2002.

Jack was then removed from his home in Laindon by social care and placed with a foster family in north Essex, and had his name changed.

He required 24-hour care for his extensive medical needs, but sadly died in 2016 at the age of 15.

A forensic post-mortem examination found he had died from a pulmonary infection and pneumonia as a result of the injuries he suffered as a baby.

Jack’s death was then reviewed, leading to court hearings and then Monday’s sentencing.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This is a tragic case of a young man who had any chance of a future taken away by the actions of his father.

“Jack’s injuries he sustained as a child were so severe he required extensive, round-the-clock care.

“John Doak was meant to care for and protect his son but instead deprived him of a future and now faces a significant amount of time in prison.

“My thoughts also go out to Jack’s adoptive parents who had given him many wonderful years before his death. They continue to live with the sad loss of Jack.”