February 2017

Mum murdered her 19-day-old baby

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A mum who murdered her 19-day-old baby with a series of blows to the head after subjecting him to a catalogue of abuse was yesterday sentenced to life in prison.

Nicola Brown, 43, will have to serve a minimum of 14 and a half years for the wicked attack on her newborn son Jake.

Nicola killed Jake by smashing his head with “astonishing force” using a hard object.

It caused horrific injuries including bruises to his scalp, a fractured skull, a bilateral brain haemorrhage and bleeding to his eyes.

A post-mortem found he also had 17 rib fractures caused by an adult squeezing him. An earlier brain injury was probably from being shaken.

Jurors at her murder trial heard her sob in court as her 999 call was played to the court.

The lying mum told the operator: “My baby is not breathing. Yesterday he was knocked out of the baby basket – he’s definitely not breathing.

“He’s 19 days old and I didn’t think there was anything wrong with him when he was knocked out of the baby basket.”

In the dock she tried to blame doctors for failing to spot he was ill after she took Jake to the GP three days before he died for symptoms including constipation, wheezing and a runny nose.

She told the jury of her son’s final moments: “He was asleep, he was clammy, sweaty, he didn’t take his feed and I said if he didn’t take his next feed properly I would take him to the doctor’s.

“He made a noise and I saw the lights go out of my son’s eyes and that’s a picture I will never forget for the rest of my life.”

Asked if Jake had suffered violence causing him to stop breathing, she said: “I can’t comment on that because I didn’t see anything.

“Personally I think I have been let down by the health services.”

Brown, of Portsmouth, Hants, was convicted of murder at Winchester crown court in December, two years to the day after she killed her son in 2014.

As the verdict was passed she shouted at jurors: “You have really go it wrong. I hope this haunts you to the day you die.”

Her forklift driver husband Jason Brown, 44 – Jake’s father – was cleared of causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial heard how the couple, who married after Jake’s death, had been in a volatile relationship and text messages between them showed they often argued.

The jury was also told Nicola had not informed her doctor that she was pregnant before she gave birth and social services were informed because of the “concealed pregnancy”.

One series of texts show her state of mind nine days before she killed the newborn.

Nigel Lickley QC, prosecuting, said: “On December 10 messages show Jason was not prepared to leave Nicola to look after the child unless she got help for her problems.”

He added: “Something happened on the night of the 10th or the morning of the 11th.

“She messaged saying: ‘I know I’m a f*** up but I’m your f*** up and always want to be your f*** up’.

“Jason replies: “It’s one excuse after another for you I’m at the end of my tether. I’m sick to death of you playing the love card, it makes me sick’.

“She replied ‘This morning with Jake I was panicking because I thought I was going to drop Jake.

“We have both been ticking time bombs and you know what buttons to press with me’.

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