Couple whose four-month-old baby son died of brain injury jailed for total of 14 years
A couple were today jailed over the death of their baby who died from a mystery brain injury after being found soaking wet in their flat.
Ah’Kiell Walker was discovered naked and freezing cold at the family home and died the following day.
A CT scan showed bleeding within his eyes ‘consistent with shaking a baby’, fractured ribs and a broken shoulder.
Last month his father Alistair Walker, 27, yawned in court as he was convicted of manslaughter and mother Hannah Henry, 22, convicted of causing or allowing the death of their four-month-old.
Henry was later cleared of manslaughter but both were convicted of cruelty to a child under 16.
The court heard the baby had not ‘pooed for a month’ and that Walker was ‘obsessed’ with Ah’Kiell’s constipation but neither parent sought medical advice.
Alistair Walker was today jailed for 10 years for manslaughter and concurrent three years for child cruelty.
Hannah Henry was jailed for four years for causing or allowing death of child under 16 and concurrent two years for child cruelty.
Weeks before Ah’Kiell’s death Walker had Googled a number of search terms about baby constipation and how to deal with it.
He had also searched ‘baby broken ribs’ and ‘jailed father locked up as baby’s ribs broken’.
Walker tried to place the blame on paramedics who attended, and told the court: ‘He was made worse by the critical care.’
‘They put him into cardiac arrest. That’s not an attack that’s a fact.’
Henry denied knowing her son was injured and said: ‘I never noticed him in pain. If I knew he was in pain or hurt, then I would have taken him to the doctor.’
The infant died in the Intensive Care Unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital from an unsurvivable brain injury.
Doctors discovered scratches on his bottom and Walker was quizzed about whether he had sexually abused the baby.
He denied it, claiming he used cotton buds to ‘squeeze’ faeces out of Ah’Kiell.
Henry insisted she knew nothing about this.
Both defendants denied the charges against them and claimed they were unaware of the other harming the child, who was described as a ‘happy’ baby.
The couple had money problems and Walker lost money at a betting shop the day before Ah’Kiell’s death.
Henry had sent WhatsApp messages to her mother, including one which said: ‘He’s so horrible to Ah’Kiell.
‘Don’t know how he does it.’
Judge Sir John Royce called Walker a ‘controlling and manipulative bully’.
Sentencing the pair, Judge Royce referred to an incident in which Walker had broken some of his four-month-old son’s ribs around four-eight weeks before Ah’Kiell’s death.
The judge said: ‘It is clear to me that it was you, Alistair Walker who broke Ah’Kiell’s ribs with considerable force.
‘I am satisfied that you knew you would have broken those ribs.
‘A series of revealing images and links recovered from your phone included “shaken baby’, “rib fracture and children: what you need to know”, and ‘baby broken ribs”.’
The judge added: ‘Ah’Kiell would have screamed in pain for some minutes.’
He also referenced Walker and Henry’s ‘strange and strained’ relationship, saying that Henry continues to show an ‘obsession’ with Walker.
The judge said: ‘You, Mr Walker, were a controlling and manipulative bully, who wanted to control who Miss Henry saw and what she did.
‘You used to regard it as your right to go off with other girls as and when you wished, but you would become angry with Hannah when she dared to check up on you.
‘I am also satisfied that you, Hannah Henry, know much more about this than you are willing to let on.
‘On June 26 you had a text exchange with your mother in which you said you told Alistair Walker to go, but you were worried he would take Ah’Kiell.
‘You said he was horrible to Ah’Kiell and couldn’t handle him for more than two seconds without getting mad.
‘But you decided to stay and ignore your mother’s pleas to move back to Essex. You still show an obsession with Alistair Walker.’
Sentencing Walker, the judge added: ‘You know what it was that you did, but you have decided you will not reveal what you did.
‘You know why he was freezing cold and soaking wet, with catastrophic injuries.
‘You no doubt thought you would get away with it. But the jury were not to be fooled by you.’
And addressing Henry, he said: ‘I accept that you were manipulated and controlled by him, that you had been on the receiving end of his violence.
‘But you ignored your mother’s pleas to leave him, and you put your obsession with him ahead of your duty to protect your son.’
Father guilty of manslaughter
A father who shook and immersed his three-month-old son in water yawned as he was found guilty of manslaughter.
Ah’Kiell Walker died from a brain injury after he was found “freezing cold” and paramedics had to tip water out of his mouth in July 2016.
The baby had four broken ribs and a fractured shoulder, doctors found.
Alistair Walker, 27, was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court and Ah’Kiell’s mother Hannah Henry, 22, was convicted of causing or allowing his death.
Walker was also found guilty of cruelty to a person under the age of 16. Henry was acquitted of manslaughter.
Paramedics were called to the family home in Archdeacon Street, Gloucester, on 30 July 2016.
The pair denied harming their baby and claimed they had found him unresponsive before calling 999.
A pathologist’s report found the baby had four broken ribs and a fractured shoulder which were caused four-to-eight weeks before his death.
During the trial Walker claimed the brain injury had been caused by a paramedic.
He also accused a second paramedic of “not looking like she knew what she was doing either”.
Detectives found Walker searched the internet for “shaken baby syndrome”, “can I squeeze my baby”, “internal bleeding due to trauma” and “baby broken ribs” in the weeks before the baby died.
Other searches included “Can babies feel pain?” and “baby burst liver”.
Judge Sir John Royce told the jury of eight women and four men that the “harrowing features” of the case meant they would be exempt from jury service for 15 years.
Walker, of Lansdowne Green, south London, and Henry, of Tuffley, Gloucestershire, will be sentenced next month.