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Life for baby killer grandfather

A man who conned his daughter into thinking he was dying of cancer has been jailed for at least 25 years for murdering her five-week-old baby.

Mark Jones, 45, carried out a brutal attack on granddaughter Amelia while babysitting for her mother Sarah, 26, when she went to the cinema.

Sentencing him to life with a minimum of 25 years, Judge Wyn Williams said Jones had shown no remorse for his "wicked and despicable" actions.

He told Jones: "It may well be that you are never released from prison or if you are you will be a very old man."

In her victim impact statement, Miss Jones said her father was now dead to her.

Newport Crown Court heard that the defendant called his daughter first, rather than dial 999, after Amelia stopped breathing.

Doctors later found the baby had suffered a catastrophic bleed to the brain as well as having fractures to her skull, ribs and leg. She died 48 hours later in hospital aged just 41 days.

Experts believe she received a serious blow to the head as well as being violently shaken.

The court heard that Jones was a serial liar who could not be trusted.

Not only did he try blame other children for his granddaughter's injuries, he had deceived his daughter for more than a year into thinking he was seriously ill.

He repeatedly phoned her up masquerading as a doctor. And he pretended to pass out in front of her after telling her he had taken "anti-cancer drugs".

To make his act look all the more convincing, Jones hobbled around on a crutch with what appeared to be plastic tubes attached to his chest.

Jones claimed Amelia's death had been a tragic accident after he dropped her on two separate nights.

But the court was told the defendant said nothing about a supposed "black out" for 22 months - and only came up with the story after police had re-arrested him.

Amelia died in November 2012, two days after she was left with Jones at her home in Pontnewydd, Cwmbran, south Wales.

As the jury's unanimous verdict came in, Jones showed no emotion - and did not flinch when his daughter's victim impact statement was read aloud in court.

She said her life had been totally destroyed - and it had given her other children nightmares.

One of them had asked: "If granddad gets out of prison, will we have to move? I'm afraid he will come and kill me next."

Amelia's mother said her baby's life now seemed like a dream and her father's betrayal has left her unable to trust anyone.

And, in the midst of her grief, further heartbreak was to come after her other children were taken off her by social services while a police investigation into her baby's death went ahead.

"Amelia was not the only one of my children I lost," she said.

"My other three were taken away from me and I did not see them for another three weeks after Amelia had died.

"I was even arrested, accused of killing Amelia. My life had been destroyed."

Miss Jones added she was constantly haunted by thoughts of what her daughter would look like now, what colour her hair would be and what her personality would be like.

She added that as far as she was concerned, her father was now dead to her.

"I still feel like I have not properly grieved for Amelia," she said.

Amelia's father Ian Skillern said in a statement that his daughter's death had also devastated him.

Sentencing, the judge told the court he had decided to go beyond the "usual starting point" of a 15-year minimum term because of the many aggravating features in the case.

Addressing the defendant, he said: "You inflicted significant and serious violence upon your granddaughter, who was nearly six weeks old.

"You killed a very young baby - she was particularly vulnerable and defenceless.

"Precisely what you did to her will never be known unless you choose to reveal it.

"At the very least, you made her head hit against a hard surface. This was a terrible thing to do to a baby. I am also satisfied that you abused Amelia on at least two previous occasions to her death."

Mr Justice Williams said Jones's actions had major consequences to Amelia's family, particularly her mother Sarah.

He said: "She had to deal with the anguish of not only losing her baby but her other children and at the same time was suspected of killing Amelia."

The defendant's ever-changing story, as well as attempts to pervert the course of justice, were described as "wicked and despicable", especially in his failed attempt to implicate another child for Amelia's death.

Mr Justice Williams added: "You have not shown a shred of remorse... and have only ever been concerned about yourself.

"It may well be that you are never released from prison - or if you are, you will be a very old man."

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