Kent

Lee Vernon jailed for baby son's shake murder

Lee Vernon Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption The court heard Lee Vernon was "a manipulative liar"

A father who shook his baby son to death has been jailed for a minimum of 16 years.

McKenzie Ellis was six weeks old when he died from a fractured skull, bleed on the brain and several other fractures in July last year.

Lee Vernon, of Broadstairs in Kent, was convicted of his murder following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

McKenzie's mother Katrina Ellis said she hoped the 21-year-old was never released from prison.

Vernon was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 16 years.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Nicklin said McKenzie "was particularly vulnerable because of his very young age".

He told Vernon: "You were his father. The infliction of injuries upon your son was a significant breach of trust and your responsibility to care for him.

"The evidence during the trial suggests that McKenzie was in significant pain as a result of these historic injuries that affected his sleep and his eating."

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption McKenzie Ellis was six weeks old when he died

The trial heard McKenzie was taken to a hospital in Margate on 23 July 2018 in an unconscious and unresponsive state.

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

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

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Ms Ellis said: "I feel so much hate for Lee now and I just want to see him never come out of prison for what he has done.

"I only had McKenzie for six weeks but those six weeks were the best in my life."

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

But prosecutor Steven Perian QC said he was "a manipulative liar and was able to provide a convincing account that was inconsistent with the medical evidence".

Vernon was also found guilty of two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and sentenced to six years in prison to run concurrent to his 16-year term.

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