Man admits killing baby boy out of ‘frustration’ after ‘learning he may not be his son’
A man is facing jail after admitting killing a baby boy he had learned might not be his, a court heard.
Paul Rich today pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of three-month-old Patrick Bradley during a spur of the moment attack after becoming frustrated while caring for him.
The 53-year-old was married to Patrick’s mum, Kirsty Bradley, but she also had another boyfriend, the court heard.
Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, said: “Paul Rich was told that he was to be named as the father on the birth certificate. He accepted and cared for the [the baby] as his own.”
But when he got a “gut feeling” and asked his wife if Patrick was her boyfriend’s baby, she said: “Possibly, I don’t know”, Ms Howes added.
Rich tried claiming Patrick’s fatal head injuries were caused when he dropped him from his arms into his Moses basket.
Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, said that was not acceptable as the baby had suffered compression to the ribs, shaking and a severe blunt force impact to the head.
On the eve of his murder trial at Bristol Crown Court, he offered a new basis of plea to the charge of manslaughter in which he accepted he had unlawfully killed Patrick.
Ms Howes told the court the fatal injuries were inflicted in the early hours of March 25 2017 when the defendant was looking after the baby at home in Swindon.
Patrick’s mum was out with her other partner that evening and at 3.15am – shortly after the infant suffered the fatal injuries – Rich dialled 999.
He told the operator: “It’s the baby. Just got him out of his cot. He’s not looking right to me. His eyes are semi-open and he seems all floppy to me.”
Patrick was taken to Great Western Hospital and his life support was withdrawn on March 30. He died in his mum’s arms a short time later.
When Rich was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, he told officers: “I was just caring for the child. I am just a family man.”
Later, he added: “I wouldn’t hurt a child.”
Ms Howes said the defendant had at an earlier stage pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis he had accidentally dropped Patrick from his arms into his Moses basket, which was on the floor, from a height of 3ft to 4ft.
“He wasn’t thinking what he was doing with the child and he was frustrated and very tired,” Ms Howes said.
“According to one expert, this explanation would be unique if it was accepted by the court.”
She added: “It is the Crown’s case that all the injuries were inflicted and sustained during the same assault upon Patrick.
“It was a spur of the moment, no question about it – one of the factors finding the plea to manslaughter acceptable.”
Rich, of Sandy Lane, Shrivenham, near Swindon, had been due to stand trial accused of murder and two charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent on the infant.
But following his guilty plea to manslaughter, the prosecution accepted the not guilty plea to murder and the two other charges were ordered to lie on file.
Mr Justice Soole adjourned sentencing until Wednesday morning and remanded Rich into custody