Beds, Herts & Bucks

Baby Harper Denton 'killed by dad with history of violence'

Nightingale Court, Wixams, Bedfordshire Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Harper Denton died in hospital after being found at a house in Wixams, close to Bedford in June 2018

A father accused of smothering his baby daughter had seriously injured another young child 12 years before, a court has heard.

Kevin Eves, 37, allegedly caused multiple fractures to eight-week-old Harper Denton before she was found collapsed at her home in June 2018. She died hours later.

The Prosecution at the Old Bailey trial said the assaults were "similar".

Mr Eves, of Bedfordshire, denies murder and grievous bodily harm with intent.

Prosecutor Sally Howes QC, said in 2006, Mr Eves, then known as Mr Forbes, was jailed for nine years after he was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and wilfully assaulting a child.

The victim had suffered "life-threatening" head injuries and fractures to the elbow.

Eves, of Nightingale Court, Wixams, near Bedford, claimed the boy was injured after falling from a washing machine while in his care.

The injuries were said to be consistent with the child being "swung forcefully by the arms such that his head impacted against a surface such as the floor or a wall".

Other injuries strongly suggested physical abuse over a "prolonged period of time", jurors heard.

'Similar assault'

Ms Howes said the "life-threatening assault upon the toddler" was "so similar" to the assault on Harper.

"It demonstrates a clear and definite propensity to commit life-threatening and fatal assaults upon very young children when left in his sole charge," she said.

Mr Eves said he had put Harper to bed on 11 June, the night before she died. He fed her at 01:00 BST, but when he woke at 06:00 she was "purple" and cold, he claimed.

Harper was rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead at 06:37.

The cause of Harper's death was "unascertained" but experts identified at least three episodes of multiple, severe injuries culminating in the baby being smothered, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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