A mother who treated her baby as a “fashion accessory” has been jailed with her ex-partner for 10 years each for being responsible for the “brutal” death of her three-week-old son.
Roxanne Davis, 30, of Gosport, Hampshire, and ex-partner Samuel Davies, 24, of Southampton, were convicted by a jury at Winchester Crown Court of causing or allowing the death of Stanley Davis.
The trial heard that the baby died of a skull fracture and brain haemorrhage at just 24-days-old on March 28, 2017.
He had also suffered 32 fractures to his ribs and nine fractures to his arms and legs sustained during at least three separate occasions.
Much of your upset is self-serving crocodile tears. Your upset was more about you rather than StanleyJudge Jane Miller QC
Sentencing the pair, judge Jane Miller QC said that the baby suffered a “brutal” attack in which he was violently shaken and could have been thrown across a room.
She said: “Stanley was in pain for much of his short life.
“The medical evidence is he would have cried inconsolably for 10 to 30 minutes, which means both of you would have been aware of his distress because the flat was so tiny. One of you may have been absent when one of the sets of injuries was inflicted, but not all.”
Davis sobbed during the hearing and as she was taken down to the cells, she shouted out: “He’s a murderer.”
The judge told her: “Much of your upset is self-serving crocodile tears. Your upset was more about you rather than Stanley.”
She added: “You were delighted to show him off to family and friends, but when you were back at home and he wasn’t a fashion accessory, you were happy to hand him over to your partner.”
The court heard that the former couple, who are not married but share similar surnames, had a fractious relationship, with the police being called to the property on March 11 by neighbours who reported shouting coming from the one-bedroom flat they shared in Gosport.
Both defendants were tested positive for taking cocaine and cannabis after they were arrested following Stanley’s hospitalisation.
The first sign that Stanley had suffered any harm was when a health visitor found a bruise behind his right ear on March 16 which the couple had tried to conceal but which was later misdiagnosed by a paediatrician as a birthmark.
James Newton-Price QC, prosecuting, said: “They were very clearly warned about the risk of harm to the baby by the police and the social worker when they warned them they couldn’t behave in an argumentative or volatile way.”
Katie Thorne QC, defending Davis, said that she suffered from depression and added: “Miss Davis’ case has always been that she didn’t cause the injuries. Miss Davis did accept her strong feelings of guilt in failing to protect Stanley.”
Sally Howes QC, defending Davies, who was not the biological father, said he had “a great sadness and a great feeling of guilt”.
She added: “He is clearly a very immature man and his diagnoses of ADHD and emotionally unstable personality disorder are recent and will have to be addressed at a later stage.”
Derek Benson, chairman of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board, has confirmed that a review is being carried out of the handling of the child’s care by the authorities.