Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Father ‘murdered baby son’

A father has gone on trial accused of murdering his baby son.

Belfast Crown Court heard that baby Cameron Jay Leslie was just 14 weeks old when he died in hospital, two days after being rushed from his 26-year-old father Ryan John Leslie’s flat in Ballyvesey Green, Newtownabbey.

Baby Cameron had factured ribs and blunt force trauma to his head which caused his brain to swell.

His father, who had tried to commit suicide earlier that week, claims his son had banged his head on a plastic bath and that the broken ribs may have been caused while attempting to give him first-aid when he found him lying motionless in his cot.

But prosecuting QC Ciaran Murphy told the jury of eight women and four men that Leslie's claims did not fit the evidence, and that when they heard the evidence of all the doctors and civilians they would be “firmly convinced” of his guilt.

Leslie, who denies murder, maintained throughout 21 police interviews that he never shouted at his son, or dropped or punched him, and never lost his temper with him.

But he did admit cursing at Cameron, calling him abusive names when he cried, the court heard.

Earlier Mr Murphy claimed

that the day before being rushed to hospital, a neighbour had heard the child crying for about 45 minutes and throughout Leslie had cursed and shouted at the youngster.

He said doctors had concluded from an early stage that the injuries to baby Cameron's skull were “non-accidental”, and had been caused two to three days before his life support machine was switched off.

Mr Murphy said the traumatic injuries needed to cause the fatal swelling to the brain went “beyond rough handling”.

The prosecution lawyer claimed that Leslie had been depressed and in a “fragile state” at the time.

However, Mr Murphy revealed that the child's mother, Sheree Black, who had agreed to Cameron spending an extra over-night in the care of his father, was unaware that earlier that week he had tried to hang himself.

Mr Murphy suggested that the medical evidence did not support Leslie's claims that the injuries to baby Cameron's head may have been caused by him hitting his head on the bath.

The lawyer said that at the post- mortem of baby Cameron, it was estimated the fatal brain injuries were caused not by “simple shaking”, but by violent shaking together with an impact of the head with a hard surface.

The trial continues today and is expected to last several weeks.

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