A factory worker convicted of murdering his 11-week-old twin baby and causing life changing brain injuries to the boy’s brother after his partner confiscated his mobile phone for not looking after them properly, was today jailed for life.
Haroldas Bugaila’s phone was taken off him by his partner Aliona Maskevic, 22, after she went to their bedroom to find him playing games on his phone instead of tending to baby Martynas who was crying.
Bugaila, who had previously made threats to make the twins cry, shook Martynas who collapsed and became lifeless within moments.
Aliona rushed Martynas to hospital in a taxi leaving Bugaila in charge of the child’s twin brother.
While alone at home to look after the other twin Bugaila shook the other boy causing him serious brain damage.
Martynas suffered catastrophic and unsurvivable brain injuries. Although the second twin survived he has been left with learning disabilities and will be unable to live independently. He is now in foster care.
Medical investigations subsequently revealed that both boys had also been subjected to a similar attack some weeks earlier.
The jury at Lincoln Crown Court heard there was “significant tension” in the parents’ relationship and that during previous arguments the defendant made threats to make both boys cry.
Aliona felt Bugaila did not pull his weight and came to believe he did not want to work despite the fact that he was the sole earner in the family after the twins were born.
Mr Justice Jeremy Baker jailed Bugaila for life and ordered him to serve a minimum of 23 years before he can be considered for parole.
The judge told Bugaila: “This is not a case where a wearied and hard-pressed parent living in difficult circumstances suddenly shakes their child and immediately regrets what they have done.
“It is clear from the jury’s verdicts that you deliberately and violently shook both of these babies on at least two occasions.
“I am satisfied that you had abdicated much of the responsibility for their care to their mother and when she sought to remonstrate you issued threats to harm your children.
“Knowing that you had inflicted such serious injuries to Martynas you thereafter intentionally caused serious injuries to his twin which has caused him life long disabilities.”
Jonas Hankin QC, prosecuting, said: “There is evidence that significant tension existed in this relationship. There were arguments between them in which Aliona is said to have spoken to him in a way he objected to. On more than one occasion the defendant warned he would make the boys cry if she spoke to him in that way.”
The couple had only been together for a few months before Aliona discovered she was pregnant. Bugaila, who told the jury he had never seen his own father, said he did not see any future in their relationship but said they had stayed together as a result of the births.
The fatal attack occurred on March 27, 2019 at the family home in Granville Street, Boston, after Bugaila was briefly left to look after Martynas and his brother.
Mr Hankin said that Bugaila shouted: “Come. There’s something wrong.”
He told the jury: “Aliona ran upstairs and looked in the cot. Martynas was on his back. He looked completely white. His eyes were closed and he wasn’t breathing.”
The mother took Martynas to a changing table and tried to resuscitate him using a method she was shown at hospital.
“She says he was turning blue as she was doing it.”
Bugaila dialled 999 but did not manage to complete the call due to language problems.
Martynas’s mother then rang for a taxi and the child was taken to the Pilgrim Hospital.
Later the same day Bugaila shook the other twin who was also taken to hospital. Both boys were later transferred to the Queen’s Medical Centre at Nottingham. The injuries to Martynas were found to be unsurvivable and after life support was withdrawn, he passed away on April 2, 2019.
Mr Hankin said: “The fatal injury sustained by Martynas and the non-fatal injury caused to his brother were deliberately inflicted by their natural father Haroldas Bugaila. The likely mechanism in this case is shaking with or without an impact against a yielding surface.
“Medical investigations revealed that both infants had also sustained older head injuries. The older injuries had been inflicted some weeks earlier.
“The pattern of injuries is entirely typical of deliberately inflicted injury particularly shaking with or without impact with a yielding surface.
“Martynas would have collapsed immediately or within seconds of being assaulted such was the severity of his injury. The evidence supports application of a significant degree of force.
“He was the perpetrator. There is overwhelming evidence of traumatic injury. Not only is there no medical cause for the boy’s injuries but there is clear evidence of mechanical trauma that required force.”
“He says he didn’t inflict the injuries and he didn’t see anybody else do so. It is impossible that it was someone other than the defendant who inflicted these injuries.”
Mr Hankin said that the baby was later found also to have older injuries which he described as deliberately inflicted.
Bugaila, who came to the UK from Lithuania six years ago to look for work, denied harming either baby and told the jury he loved them both.
His barrister Allison Summers QC asked him: “If the medical evidence is right and these injuries have been inflicted on this child by an adult, do you know who did this?” He replied “No”.
Bugaila was asked if his partner may have caused the injuries. He responded “I cannot imagine that.”
Haroldas Bugaila, 29, a factory worker, of Granville Street, Boston, denied the murder of Martynas Bugaila on April 2, 2019 and denied causing the baby grievous bodily harm to him between February 5 and March 15, 2019.
He also denied further charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and inflicting grievous bodily harm to Martynas’s twin. He was found guilty of all four charges.
Det Supt Karl Whiffen of the East Midlands Police Operations Unit said: “This has been an incredibly difficult and emotive enquiry for the investigation team who have worked tirelessly and diligently to ensure that Haroldas is held accountable for his actions.”