Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Father 'shook his baby to death'

A father lost his temper with his crying 17-week-old baby daughter and shook her to death, a court has heard.

Liverpool Crown Court was told how Liam Heyes inflicted a series of injuries on Layla Pike at the home he shared with the girl's mother, Joanna Pike.

The court heard he realised what he had done and alerted a neighbour. Layla was then taken to Alder Hey Children's Hospital, but died the next day.

Mr Heyes, 20, of Bray Road, Speke, Liverpool, denies manslaughter.

John McDermott QC, prosecuting, said Mr Heyes, who also has a 16-month old son, was left alone with his newborn after Ms Pike, 32, went out to collect her giro.

'Momentary lapse'

He said Heyes lost his temper because Layla was crying, but did not mean to kill her.

He said: "We don't allege it was a thought through, deliberate, cold blooded act.

"But more likely a momentary lapse of temper at the crying of a very young child resulting in shaking, or possibly a throw, which resulted in terrible consequences for Layla Pike."

Outlining Layla's injuries, Mr McDermott said she had severe damage to her brain and spinal cord due to a lack of blood and oxygen.

She also had bleeding on the surface of the brain, severe bleeding in both eyes and nerve fibre damage to her neck.

"The doctors found an episode of bleeding in Layla's brain which wasn't associated with what happened that morning," he said.

"According to one or more of the experts it looks like it happened between two and four days before this."

Found unconscious

Mr Heyes told police he was in the kitchen of the family home he shared with Ms Pike and five other children when Layla screamed on 18 October last year.

He claimed he rushed to the living room where he found her unconscious in her baby bouncer.

He said he picked her up to pat her back but put her on a two-seater sofa returning to the kitchen to extinguish a cigarette.

It was then the baby fell 14 inches onto a wooden floor sustaining the injuries, he told police.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday and is expected to last five weeks.

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