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Baby killer who threw crying infant into basket in fit of temper is jailed

Guilty plea: Paul Rich
Guilty plea: Paul Rich

By Rod Minchin

A man who killed a baby boy by throwing him into a Moses basket after losing his temper has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Paul Rich assaulted three-month-old Patrick Bradley during a "spur of the moment" attack after becoming "frustrated" because the infant would not stop crying.

The 53-year-old initially claimed the boy's fatal head injuries were caused when he dropped him from his arms into the basket but later accepted he had unlawfully killed him.

Bristol Crown Court heard the injuries were inflicted in the early hours of March 25, 2017, when the defendant was looking after the baby at the child's home in Swindon.

Patrick's mother and father were out that evening and at 3.15am ­- shortly after the infant suffered the fatal injuries - Rich dialled 999.

He told the operator: "It's the baby. Just got him out of his cot. He's not looking right to me. His eyes are semi-open and he seems all floppy to me."

Patrick was taken to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon and later transferred to the specialist intensive care unit at Bristol Children's Hospital.

He never recovered from his injuries and his life support was withdrawn on March 30. He died a short time later.

The cause of death was given as "severe head injury".

Jailing him, Mr Justice Soole said: "Your account of that night has taken a very long time to emerge and the full picture is not complete in every detail.

"Patrick was in a Moses basket on the floor, crying and intermittently screaming. You could not get him to settle.

"You were tired after a full day at work and then being up through the night, and you were frustrated that Patrick would not settle.

"At 3.15am you called the emergency services. The lead paramedic arrived and found Patrick lying on the sofa, unresponsive, pale and blue. It was obvious he was in cardiac arrest.

"The cause of this, as you finally acknowledged last week, was that you had suddenly assaulted him by compression of the rib cage, gripping and squeezing him from side to side, shaking him and throwing him into his Moses basket.

"From all that I have read and heard about you, this terrible event was utterly out of character.

"I have read and taken account of the moving victim statement. I am conscious that no sentence of the court can ease their deep grief and anger."

Rich, of Sandy Lane, Shrivenham, near Swindon, had been due to stand trial accused of murder and two charges of causing grievous bodily harm.

But following his guilty plea to manslaughter, the prosecution accepted the not-guilty plea to murder and the two other charges were ordered to lie on file.

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