Tyne & Wear

Tequiilah Burke: Newcastle couple found guilty of baby death

Paul Nicholson, 20, outside Newcastle Crown Court Image copyright PA
Image caption An arrest warrant has been issued for Nicholson

A couple from Newcastle have been found guilty of allowing the death of their 16-week-old daughter.

Tequiilah Burke sustained brain injuries and bruising and died in hospital in December 2013.

Victoria Burke, 24, and partner Paul Nicholson, 20, of Crigdon Hill, East Denton, previously denied causing or allowing the death of a baby.

The pair were found guilty following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court. They will be sentenced on Thursday.

Nicholson was convicted in his absence after failing to show up at court for the final days of his trial. An arrest warrant has been issued.

Burke was remanded in custody.

The court heard the baby girl died after being fatally injured by one or both her parents during a jealous row.

The jury heard how Ms Burke was working in a nightclub offering drinks in order to raise money for Christmas presents for her four children, but Mr Nicholson was unhappy because she was associating with other men.

Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said Ms Burke came home from work in the early hours of 14 December 2013, before a row ensued with Mr Nicholson.

The court was told that just after 08:00 Mr Nicholson dialled 999 to say her baby was not breathing.

She was taken to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary where she died.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had suffered recent bruising, as well as brain swelling and bleeding.

The jury heard Mr Nicholson told a health visitor he was Tequiilah's father, which Ms Burke denied, but agreed he was bringing her up as his own.

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