Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Ross Conlin sentenced to life for murdering baby daughter

Baby Kiera Image copyright Hampshire police
Image caption Kiera suffered abuse in the months leading up to her death, including broken ribs and skull fractures

A man has been sentenced to life for murdering his four-month-old daughter.

Ross Conlin, 29, of Farnborough, shook Kiera Conlin in a flash of anger leaving her with fatal injuries following repeated abuse, Winchester Crown Court heard.

She was taken to hospital but died the next day. He was found guilty of murder and three counts of GBH with intent.

Charges against the girl's mother, Kelly Rayner, 26, were dismissed. She denied causing or allowing her death.

Conlin, who denied all the charges, was told he would serve a minimum of 17 years in jail.

Doctors found Kiera suffered repeated abuse in the months leading up to her death, including broken ribs and skull fractures, the court heard.

There was also a "triad of injuries" associated with babies who had been shaken.

'Physically sick'

Conlin was said to have been left alone with his daughter on May Day Bank Holiday last year, while her mother was out.

Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Ross Conlin will serve a minimum of 17 years in jail

He rang 999 after Kiera stopped breathing and told the operator she had been sick.

Her injuries included bleeding to the brain and the back of the eyes, and loss of oxygen to the brain.

The jury was told the couple had money worries and Mr Conlin was in trouble at his work with a debt collection agency.

He was also a cannabis and cocaine user and had been using dating sites, causing tension in the relationship.

Speaking to the BBC before the verdict, Ms Rayner's father Paul Rayner said when Conlin was arrested and the evidence was presented to the family he was "physically sick".

He said he had to watch his daughter "relive the death of her child day, after day, after day".

'Horrendously let down'

Following the conviction, Julia Woodward, senior crown prosecutor, said: "Kiera Conlin was only four months when she died at the hands of the man who was supposed to protect her throughout her life.

"Ross Conlin lied in evidence, stating that his daughter started to choke on her vomit after she refused to drink the bottle of milk he was giving her.

"The jury heard that the tension between the couple and the fact that Ross Conlin had issues at work, money problems and was a cocaine and drug user contributed without any doubts with his struggle to care for his daughter and added to his anger when she was difficult to care for."

Det Ch Insp Scott Clarke, the senior investigating officer, called the trial a "harrowing and difficult experience for all those involved".

He added: "[Kiera] was abused and horrendously let down by this man - her father.

"Without the abhorrent behaviour of her father, Kiera would still be alive today."

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