Daniel Sanzone jailed for life for killing son
A father who shook his two-week-old son so violently the baby went blind and deaf has been jailed for life.
Daniel Sanzone inflicted “catastrophic and irreversible” brain injuries on Joshua Millinson at his home in Wolverhampton in October last year.
The 23-year-old was convicted of murder on Wednesday at Birmingham Crown Court.
The court heard he has since received death threats and his prison cell had been ransacked. Mr Justice Robert Jay said Sanzone was “immature”.
Joshua was in intensive care at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for nearly a month after the incident before a High Court order was issued to switch off his life support machine.
The assaults must have caused the baby “considerable distress” and Joshua must have “cried out in pain”, Mr Justice Jay said.
Sanzone was unable to accept that his partner, Joshua’s mother Zoe Howell, was “no longer able to focus all her attention on you”, the judge told him.
Ms Howell was cleared of child cruelty and causing or allowing Joshua’s death.
The couple had split up in the days before the shaking incident on 24 October last year.
Speaking after the sentencing, Ms Howell said the sentence was not long enough.
She said: “I’ve lost my son and I’ve had to go through all this. People have been slating me for something I didn’t do.
“My son was my whole world.
“I can’t explain it. I just keep saying to myself I should have done more, but what could I have done?”
The court was told paramedics were called to Whitburn Close in Pendeford where they found Joshua not breathing and “floppy”.
Sanzone told Joshua’s mother that the “thud” she said she heard from another room was him dropping a remote control.
During the trial, jurors were told Joshua’s injuries were some of the most extreme medical experts had seen.
The experts found evidence of previous injuries including a “forcible twisting of bones” from about a week prior to the shaking and rib and leg fractures that may have pre-dated previous hospital visits.
Sanzone will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison.
A father has been convicted of abusing and then murdering his newborn baby by shaking him to death at their Wolverhampton home
Daniel Sanzone vigorously shook 13-day-old Joshua Millinson causing him catastrophic brain injuries he did not survive.
On at least one other occasion 23-year-old Sanzone assaulted his boy who had suffered six rib and six leg fractures.
A jury at Birmingham Crown Court to convict Sanzone of murder and cruelty to a child. He faces a life sentence tomorrow.
Joshua’s mother, Zoe Howell,was found not guilty of allowing his death to happen and was freed from the dock.
Adjourning the case, Mr Justice Jay told the court: “I am not proceeding immediately to sentence. In a case of this sort I need to reflect coolly and dispassionately.”
Jurors deliberated over three days.
Ambulance crews attended the family home in Whitburn Close, Pendeford, on October 24 last year where Joshua had entered cardiac arrest and was not breathing.
It would later emerge that Sanzone had vigorously shaken Joshua while alone in the living room.
The trial heard Howell, 19, had been in the neighbouring kitchen and heard a loud bang.
Sanzone initially told her it had been a TV remote hitting the floor and would tell police in interview it was the sound of the sofa hitting the wall as he sat back.
But it is believed the sound could have been Joshua being thrown down onto the sofa by Sanzone.
Joshua’s grandmother, Sharon Howell, attempted to perform CPR and the baby was rushed to New Cross Hospital before being transferred to Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital.
He died following nearly a month on life support after the High Court ruled his care should be withdrawn.
Medical examinations revealed some of Joshua’s fractures were likely suffered on a date prior to the fatal assault, which led to charges of child cruelty.
His brain injuries were likened to the kind seen in a major road accident and had characteristics commonly associated with where a baby has been shook.
The prosecution had accused Howell of having “turned a blind eye” to the risk of harm to Joshua at the hands of Sanzone.
Miss Sally Howes QC had told the jury it was “inconceivable” she would have been unaware her son was being abused by his father.
She was cleared of all charges at the trial. Sanzone will be sentenced today at 2pm.