United Kingdom

Father, 31, is found guilty of murdering his 39-day-old son by violently shaking him

A father has been found guilty of murdering his 39-day-old baby by violently shaking him to the point of fracturing his ribs 74 times.   

James Dean Clark, 31, shook his son Sean to death on January 14, 2018. The baby was found unresponsive in his cot.  

Medical experts concluded Sean had sustained a total of 74 fractures to his ribs along with two serious head injuries.

A jury heard the injuries were consistent with Sean being shaken violently shortly before his death.

Clark denied being responsible for the death but was convicted by a jury following a trial at Bristol Crown Court.

James Dean Clark (pictured), 31, shook his son Sean to death on January 14, 2018. The baby was found unresponsive in his cot

Sean's mother, Helen Jeremy, 27, of Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, was acquitted of causing or allowing his death.

Clark, of Warmley, South Gloucestershire, will be sentenced on September 24.

Superintendent James Riccio, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: 'James Clark is responsible for the most repulsive and hideous of crimes - the murder of a defenceless child.

'All of my team have been truly shocked at the lack of remorse shown by him throughout this investigation and subsequent trial which has taken more than three and a half years to conclude.

'The evidence showed quite clearly Sean was subjected to multiple assaults which had been committed on a number of separate occasions and we fought hard to secure the charges and compile the evidence to put in front of a court.

'As his father, he should have protected him not inflict pain and suffering on him.'  

Clark denied being responsible for the death but was convicted by a jury following a trial at Bristol Crown Court (pictured) 

Clark told the jury fatherhood didn't daunt him. He said: 'I liked it, I enjoyed it. I found some stuff quite difficult but I got through it.'

He explained how he had a compulsive nature and liked to have his possessions arranged just so.

He said this habit also applied to ensuring Sean's milk was ready for him when Miss Jeremy visited with the baby from her mother's home where they lived.

Clark told the jury he enjoyed playing computer games.

When his barrister, Andrew Langdon QC, asked him if he ever took out frustration from gaming on Sean, he said he didn't. 

The court heard that from Thursday, January 11, 2018, Miss Jeremy took Sean for a long weekend to Clark's mother home.

Miss Jeremy told the court Sean was crying a lot more than normal and she wasn't sure what was causing his distress.

She said on the morning of Sunday, January 14, she woke up and found Sean unresponsive in his cot.

Both she and Clark denied injuring the baby.

Ann Hampshire from the CPS said: 'This was a tragic case where a very young child was the victim of several assaults, causing serious and ultimately fatal injuries.

'Only Clark knows exactly how Sean suffered those injuries and he maintained that he was not the cause.

'This case relied on evidence from some of the top medical experts in the country and was distressing case to investigate and for the jury to hear.

'The verdict demonstrates that the jury were satisfied that it was Clark who inflicted these injuries and they found him guilty of murder.'

A spokesperson for the NSPCC in the South West said: 'This is a deeply upsetting and disturbing case in which a baby was killed by his own father.

'Babies and young children are entirely dependent on those who care for them and we all have a duty to look out for their welfare.

'Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000, while young people can call Childline on 0800 1111.' 

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