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Jack Mitchell death: Father jailed for manslaughter

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image copyrightJoe Giddens/PA Wire
image captionJohn Doak admitted manslaughter of his 15-year-old son who died as a teenager

A father who admitted causing the death of his teenage son by shaking him as a baby has been jailed for three years.

Jack Mitchell, 15, from Harwich, Essex, died in March 2016 from a pulmonary infection and pneumonia.

His biological father John Doak, 37, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, had denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Justice John Cavanagh said only Doak knew what happened as he was alone with the child when the incident happened.

Severe brain damage

David Emanuel, defending Doak, said that according to an expert report "what probably happened was the loss of control temporarily while trying to stop him crying".

Justice Cavanagh said Jack suffered severe brain damage, required 24-hour care, was blind and unable to talk, had limited ability to move and had a "very poor... if non-existent" quality of life as a result of the assault.

"The cause of his death was a shaking-type assault that you inflicted on Jack many years previously, on May 22 2001, when he was only four months old.

"In the intervening period, Jack suffered from brain damage and from other very serious health problems that were the direct result of your assault on him.

"However, I sentence you on the basis that you did not intend to kill him or to cause him really serious harm."

Mr Emanuel added that unemployed lorry driver Doak was married with three children and three step-children.

He said Doak "grieves for (Jack) every day" and was otherwise of good character.

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Related Topics

  • Laindon
  • Spalding
  • Harwich

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