Kent

Lee Vernon trial: Baby murder accused 'might have shaken son'

Maidstone Crown Court
Image caption Lee Vernon is accused of murdering his son McKenzie Ellis

A father accused of murdering his baby son told a social worker he "might have shaken" the boy, a court has heard.

Lee Vernon, 21, of Broadstairs, admits the manslaughter of McKenzie Ellis, but denies murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Social worker Coral Jenner visited Mr Vernon while he was on remand.

Speaking to Maidstone Crown Court by videolink, she said: "He said that the injuries that occurred to McKenzie 'could only have been caused by me'."

Ms Jenner said Mr Vernon told her six-week-old McKenzie's injuries "had nothing to do with Kat", referring to the boy's mother Katrina Ellis.

She said he repeated the point up to four times during a two-hour interview.

'Angrier and angrier'

Jurors were told Mr Vernon said: "After I had dropped McKenzie and he did not respond I knew I was angry.

"I was anxious and paranoid, I got angrier and angrier."

Ms Jenner said he told her: "I think I tried to shake him, I might have shaken him."

She said she reported the conversation to police.

Jurors heard Mr Vernon's police interview in which he said he got up at 06:15 GMT to change McKenzie and give him a bottle.

Broken bones

He said he picked McKenzie up from the changing mat, but McKenzie flung his head back, causing him to drop him.

Mr Vernon told police McKenzie's head struck the side of the sofa before he fell on the floor and afterwards was unresponsive.

He said to police: "At this stage I was too scared to tell her [Katrina] that I had dropped him.

"I said that I had left him with pillows round him and came back and he was unresponsive."

McKenzie was taken to Margate hospital where he was unconscious and had a broken collarbone, 11 broken ribs and a brain bleed, jurors heard.

At a London hospital on 26 July, McKenzie's life support was switched off.

The court heard Mr Vernon was asked by detectives to explain how McKenzie had suffered so many injuries.

Jurors heard Mr Vernon replied to officers: "I did not harm my child. I did not do anything to him. I dropped him that is it. After I dropped him, I panicked. I did not know what to do."

He added: "Honestly, I do not understand how he got so many injuries."

The trial continues.

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