Highlands & Islands

Father admits shaking newborn baby to death

Thomas Haining Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Thomas Haining has been remanded in custody

A teenage father from Inverness has admitted shaking his 23-day-old baby girl to death.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard Thomas Haining was 19 when he inflicted "catastrophic and unsurvivable" brain injuries on his daughter.

His daughter Mikayla died from severe head trauma in June 2017.

Haining, now 22, was originally charged with murder but prosecutors accepted a lesser charge of culpable homicide.

On the night of the attack, Haining had stayed up to look after baby Mikayla, who had been "unsettled" in the few days before her death, crying more than usual and suffering from diarrhoea.

'Survival was unlikely'

With his ex-girlfriend Shannon Davies asleep upstairs in their Inverness home, Haining claimed to have taken Mikayla out of her Moses basket to feed her in the early hours, after which he said she became sleepy and unresponsive.

The court was told phone records showed that Haining - described by his ex-partner as "being in a panic" - had made four internet searches during this time, trying to find out information about babies being in a coma and querying: "What happens if a newborn baby is shake (sic) hard?"

Paramedics were called but were unable to resuscitate the infant. She was taken to hospital where she was placed in intensive care with a ventilator, having suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of the head trauma.

She was in a coma with a fractured skull and several broken ribs.

Image copyright Jasper image
Image caption The Inverness flat where Thomas Haining killed his baby daughter

Medics concluded Mikayla's head injuries meant "survival was unlikely", and later that afternoon the baby was taken off life support and placed into her mother's arms where she died.

After previously denying he had killed his daughter, Crown prosecutors told the court that on Thursday 5 September, they had accepted a guilty plea from Haining to the charge of culpable homicide, rather than the original charge of murder.

They said it was "in the public interest" for the case not to go to trial.

The judge, Lord Pentland, questioned the advocate depute at length in an attempt to establish why they had accepted the lesser charge.

He replied: "The view was taken that a plea of culpable homicide would be acceptable in the context provided for the injuries."

The prosecuting lawyer said it was possible a case could be made Haining had acted with "wicked recklessness".

He added: "There was a loss of control from the accused when he was looking after Mikayla in the early hours of the morning for a short period of time which had catastrophic consequences."

Lord Pentland said he would remand Haining in custody until sentencing on 15 October while reports were compiled.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites