Matthew Higham: Stockport father punched baby 'repeatedly'

Florence Liberty Mae Image copyright PA
Image caption The little girl received "extensive injuries"

A man who killed his 16-day-old daughter with "unspeakable violence" has been jailed for life.

Preston Crown Court heard Matthew Higham either punched or slammed his daughter Florence Liberty Mae repeatedly against a hard surface.

Higham, 23, of Shaw Road South, Shaw Heath, Stockport, admitted murder.

Sentencing him to a minimum of 25 years Mr Justice Kerr said: "You battered her to death, her injuries were horrifying."

The judge also said it was a "brutal and frenzied attack", adding: "It was a crime of such unspeakable violence it is difficult to understand how any human being could do such a thing."

Mr Benjamin Nolan QC, defending Higham said: "He does not remember the actual events of the killing."

Higham made his admission on the first day of the hearing.

Gordon Cole QC, prosecuting said the little girl, who was pronounced dead at 20:38 BST on 29 July 2015, received "extensive injuries" at the hands of her father.

The court heard Higham was looking after the baby while Florence's mother Sharon Collins visited a sick relative in hospital.

Mr Cole said Higham dialled 999 at 20:06 claiming his daughter was "bleeding out of her nose, mouth and ears" but denied injuring her.

Her injuries included multiple skull and rib fractures, facial injuries and bruising, causing acute brain damage.

Image copyright GMP
Image caption Matthew Higham admitted murdering his daughter while her mother was visiting a sick relative

Internal injuries and organ damage included a lacerated liver.

Pathologist Dr Naomi Carter said these injuries were consistent with repeated punches in the face or being slammed repeatedly against a hard surface.

Neither could she rule out that Florence was also kicked, squeezed or stamped on. Fingertip bruises on the little girl's arms, legs and chest indicated she was "gripped and pinched with considerable force".

The court heard Higham tried to clean the house before emergency services arrived.

Andrew Webb, Director of Services to People at Stockport Council, said that a multi-agency Serious Case Review would be carried out.

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