NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Man convicted of baby Alexis murder set to appeal

Mark Simpson and Alexis Matheson
Image caption Mark Simpson was jailed for the murder of six-week-old Alexis Matheson

A man found guilty of murdering a six-week-old baby girl in Aberdeen is set to appeal, BBC Scotland has learned.

Mark Simpson, 30, denied murdering his then-girlfriend's daughter Alexis Matheson by assaulting her in 2007.

A jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict at the High Court in Aberdeen on 26 November and Lord Uist jailed Simpson for a minimum of 20 years.

Lawyers for Simpson said a notice of intention to appeal conviction and sentence has now been lodged.

A spokesman for baby Alexis's family said he was surprised that Simpson might appeal given it was a unanimous verdict by the jury.

At the trial, Lord Uist told Simpson: "The pain and agony which baby Alexis must have suffered as a result of the injuries which you inflicted upon her are unthinkable."

The baby's mother, Ilona Sheach, said: "At first, when Alexis died, I didn't want to believe that anyone could do that sort of thing to a baby and I certainly didn't want to think Mark could - I wanted to believe it was a medical issue.

"Thankfully the jury saw through his lies and convicted him.

"I now have to come to terms with the fact that he took Alexis's life from me."

The judge called for a fatal accident inquiry after the jury's verdict, due to medical care concerns he had, and the Crown Office then said an FAI would be held.

Image caption Ilona Sheach's daughter Alexis Matheson died in 2007

The seven-week murder trial began on 12 October.

The Crown had urged the jury of six men and eight women to convict Simpson for his "wicked recklessness".

But the defence argued there was no sufficient corroborating evidence to say Simpson even assaulted the baby.

He denied murdering Alexis by assaulting her between 18 November and 9 December 2007.

The charge stated he seized hold of her, shook her and compressed her chest, leaving her so severely injured that she died.

Simpson had claimed during the trial the baby's mother played a game called "fishy" where she lay on the floor and held Alexis above her.

He said Ms Sheach regularly shook the baby without supporting her head.

However, Ms Sheach said she would not have done anything to harm her child.

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