NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen baby killer Mark Simpson loses Alexis bid

Mark Simpson and Alexis Matheson
Image caption Mark Simpson was jailed for at least 20 years for the murder of Alexis Matheson

A man convicted of murdering a six-week-old baby in Aberdeen has failed in an attempt to clear his name, BBC Scotland has learned.

Mark Simpson, 30, denied murdering his then-girlfriend's daughter Alexis Matheson by assaulting her in 2007.

A jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict at the High Court in Aberdeen last year and Simpson was jailed for a minimum of 20 years.

Three judges have now refused further leave to appeal.

The seven-week murder trial began on 12 October.

The Crown had urged the jury to convict Simpson for his "wicked recklessness".

However, the defence argued there was no sufficient corroborating evidence to say he even assaulted the baby.

He denied murdering Alexis by assaulting her between 18 November and 9 December 2007.

The charge stated he seized hold of her, shook her and compressed her chest, leaving her so severely injured that she died.

Image caption Ilona Sheach's six-week-old daughter died back in 2007

Simpson had claimed during the trial the baby's mother played a game called "fishy" where she lay on the floor and held Alexis above her.

He said Ms Sheach regularly shook the baby without supporting her head.

However, Ms Sheach said she would not have done anything to harm her child.

Judge Lord Uist had told Simpson: "The pain and agony which baby Alexis must have suffered as a result of the injuries which you inflicted upon her are unthinkable."

He called for a fatal accident inquiry after the jury's verdict, due to medical care concerns he had, and the Crown Office then said an FAI would be held.

Case review

And in February it was announced a review into the case would be headed up by Howard Llewellyn, the chief officer of Tayside community justice authority.

He will report to the north east of Scotland child protection committee.

Simpson's lawyers lodged an appeal in December against conviction and sentence, but that was rejected by Lord Bracadale at the end of March.

It has since been considered again by three other judges, who have agreed with Lord Bracadale and refused further leave to appeal.

Simpson's lawyer John McLeod told BBC Scotland he believed there remain good grounds for an appeal and said he would consider what options remain after seeing his client next week.

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