Kent

Lee Vernon guilty of murdering six-week-old son

Lee Vernon Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Lee Vernon said he had accidentally dropped his son

The father of a six-week-old boy who died from a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain has been convicted of his son's murder.

Lee Vernon, 21, admitted killing McKenzie Ellis, who was just 47 days old when he died, but denied murder.

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court heard the baby's injuries were as a result of "being shaken with a firm grip".

Vernon, from Broadstairs, Kent, will be sentenced on 29 November.

McKenzie was taken to the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate on 23 July 2018 and was in an unconscious and unresponsive state, the trial heard.

Doctors found a severe bleed on the brain, a broken collar bone, five broken ribs on one side and six on the other side.

'Manipulative liar'

McKenzie was later taken to London's King's College Hospital but his life-support machine was turned off on 26 July.

During the trial Paul Mendelle QC, defending, said Vernon was a "committed father" who loved his son, while the defendant told the court he would never intentionally hurt his son.

He claimed he accidentally dropped the baby, panicked and tried to revive him by hugging and squeezing him, the jury heard.

Prosecutor Steven Perian QC told the jury Vernon was "a manipulative liar and was able to provide a convincing account that was inconsistent with the medical evidence gathered by the prosecution".

Vernon, who was also found guilty of two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent, faces a life sentence, the court has heard.

Following the conviction, Mr Justice Nicklin addressed Katrina Ellis, McKenzie's mother, and said: "You have been dignified throughout in what has been a very difficult time."

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