Great Britain

Dad who ‘killed baby girl didn’t tell cops he fell on her after drugs binge as he was worried what others would think’

A DAD accused of murdering his baby daughter revealed he did not tell police he fell on top of her after a drugs binge, in fear of what people would think of him.

Michael Roe, 33 had been smoking cannabis and taking tramadol when he fell and landed hard on his baby - around an hour before calling paramedics.

But he only told police six months after his death as he was scared of what friends and family would say, a court heard.

Post Mortem examinations found premature Holly Roe suffered at least three separate brain injuries and 12 rib fractures before she died.

Experts who examined her said her injuries had more in common with a car crash than a fall at home.

Consultant Paediatric Pathologist at Alderhey Children’s Hospital Dr. Jo Louise McPartland, was asked if the fall could have caused the injuries she found examine Holly’s eyes.

She said: “This was not a severe enough accident to explain the injuries.

“My findings would not be concordant with a domestic fall.”

Mr Roe said he wanted to come clean about what happened on night his daughter died while arguing for custody of his son from a previous relationship.

During a hearing at the family court six months after Holly died, he made a third statement to police.

Holly Roe died in September 2018 at the family home in Crowborough, East Sussex.

Mr Roe made his third statement during the family hearing at Brighton in May the following year.

“I have kept this secret.

“I have told nobody,” he told police.

“What I have not said previously,” Mr Roe told police.

I have kept this secret, I have told nobody.

Michael Roe

“I tripped on her swing chair, I stumbled forward and fell on the sofa with Holly in my right arm.

“My hand moved forward from her head to her neck.

“Her head hit the corner of the sofa and I fell hard on her chest.”

Mr Roe told police he had smoked a joint and taken tramadol before preparing to give his daughter her midnight bottle.

“I had taken cannabis and tramadol and this was making me feel light headed and drowsy.”

Mr Roe said he owed the truth to everybody who loved Holly.

“I was scared about what people might say and how they would react.

“It was selfish.”

Michael Roe, 33, and his former partner Tiffany Tate, 22, both deny murdering Holly.

The both also accused of allowing the other to kill her.

Danny Robinson QC for Tiffany Tate asked Dr McPartland: “If this statement by Mr Roe were true, it couldn’t be responsible for the bleeding you saw.”

Dr McPartland said: “Correct.”

Lewis Power QC for Michael Roe asked the expert if she thought there was any way his account of a fell could explain the injuries she saw to the infant.

“The account given to you in his third statement was in your view a load of nonsense, wasn’t it?”

Dr McPartland said: “The was a not severe enough accident to explain the injuries.

“My findings would not be concordant with a domestic fall.”

A jury has been told they must decide which one of her parents shook their baby to death.

Consultant neuropathologist at King’s College Hospital Prof Safa Al-Sarraj said there was no other explanation for how the tiny baby could have come by her fatal injuries.

Violent shaking resulted in parts of the brain moving in different directions, Prof Al-Sarraj told the jury at Lewes Crown Court in Hove.

The professor described complex brain injuries which killed baby Holly.

Tears to the wiring deep inside her brain could not be explained by any natural causes, he said.

“The brain has violent forward and backward movement consistent with violent accelerations and decelerations.

“These are more likely to be abusive brain injury.

“They are extremely rare in accidental brain injury.”

MULTIPLE BRAIN INJURIES

His findings showed indications of severe, non-accidental head injury.”

The professor said the timing of each injury could not be exact.

“The recent injury was likely just before death, another a few days before and another a few weeks before.”

Asked if there could be any explanation other than her injuries were inflicted by somebody else, Prof Al-Sarraj said: “No other explanation.”

Mr Roe said he dialled 999 after finding his baby cold and unresponsive at the family home in Crowborough, East Sussex on September 11, 2018.

Earlier, the court heard he was concerned former partner Tiffany Tate could have harmed their baby

During police interviews following the death of baby Holly, Michael Roe said he told a health visitor about his concerns two days before

“I’ve got a duty as a parent to protect my child.

“If she’s had a baby in her arms and thought about killing her.”

Michael Roe and Tiffany Tate both deny murder.

They both deny allowing the other to kill Holly Roe.

The trial at Lewes Crown Court in Hove continues.

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