Thomas Durkin denies 'violently' shaking partner's baby to death

A man left to babysit his partner's nine-month-old baby "violently" shook the boy to death, a court has heard.

Thomas Durkin, from Plymouth, allegedly caused fatal injuries to John-Jay Connor on 14 June 2011.

Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Durkin called paramedics to his home in Hemyock, Devon, an hour after his partner had left.

They found the boy lifeless with bruises to his head and face. The 25-year-old denies manslaughter.

As well as the bruising, John-Jay suffered internal bleeding and a swollen brain.

The court heard his mother, Andrea Glover, 25, had waved goodbye to her "giggling" and "happy" son as she left him with Mr Durkin while she ran errands.

After Mr Durkin called 999 John-Jay, known as JJ, was taken to hospital by air ambulance and pronounced dead.

'Progressively shook him'

Post-mortem tests revealed his injuries.

Martin Meeke, prosecuting, told the court: "This defendant shook a nine-month-old baby so violently it suffered injuries from which it died.

"Mr Durkin says JJ was in his rocker and the baby smiled at him so he went over, took him out the rocker and placed him on the sofa lying on his chest.

"He says that JJ fell asleep and so did he. When he woke up, he saw JJ was lying on the floor on his back with his eyes half open, making a gurgling noise and not moving."

Mr Durkin later told police he tried to revive JJ by "progressively" shaking him but he denied killing the child.

Mr Meeke told the jury that a fall from the sofa followed by gentle shaking would be extremely unlikely to cause the level of trauma seen.

During a police interview, Mr Durkin said: "I was really worried about him and getting more and more panicky as it went on."

He said he splashed cold water on the baby, dunked him in a cold bath water to revive him, then began shaking him for about 30 seconds.

"I think it started off quite gently, I might have got a bit more progressive, shook him a bit more to see if he would wake up, but he wasn't responsive," he said.

The jury were played a recording of the 999 call made by Mr Durkin on the day JJ died, in which he attempted to perform CPR on the advice of the operator.

During the 20 minute call, Mr Durkin was heard to say: "He is not floppy, he is going cold. Seriously, I think he might have died. Come on JJ."

The jury was told pathologists could find no evidence that JJ died of natural causes.

The trial continues.

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