Sunday 18 February 2018

Father 'snapped' and murdered baby son because he was crying and teething

Leyton Dawick died after the assault
Leyton Dawick died after the assault
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A violent young father lost his temper and "snapped" before murdering his baby son who was teething and crying, a court heard.

Eight-month-old Leyton Dawick suffered injuries across his body, including what experts believe were kicks or stamps to his groin and head, delivered deliberately by his father Craig Dawick (25) it was alleged.

One expert in trauma injuries said they were among the worst he had ever seen in more than 300 child injury cases and were normally associated with high-speed car crashes, Manchester Crown Court heard.

More than one juror covered their mouths with their hands when the catalogue of injuries to the child were outlined as the case against Dawick was opened at the start of his trial.

The defendant, of Durham Street, Rochdale, was in the dock alongside the child's mother, Chantelle Flynn, also 25, who denies causing or allowing the death of her baby and perverting the course of justice.

It is alleged she knew Dawick was a violent man and a risk to her child but instead covered up for him, even allegedly lying to medics about what happened as they battled to save Leyton's life in hospital.

The pair had a "tempestuous" on-off relationship, with Dawick violent towards her, but Flynn immediately forgiving him and begging him to return after each break-up, the jury heard.

Neil Usher, prosecuting, told the jury of seven women and five men Flynn had gone out and left Dawick alone with the child on the morning of September 6 last year, even though he had been violent to her in the past and she knew about his temper and the "significant risk" he posed.

Telephone records showed he called Flynn twice at 8.35am and 9.08am before paramedics were called to the house by Flynn at 9.15am after she returned home.

Paramedics arrived to find Leyton close to death and "covered in bruises".

Dawick had left via the back door before police arrived but soon returned, with Flynn then participating in a "charade" by telling him that their son was unwell as police and paramedics stood listening.

The child was rushed to hospital in Oldham before being transferred to intensive care at Manchester Children's Hospital.

Medics noted six separate areas of bruising including to his head, back of his ear, jaw, rib cage and multiple areas of bruising in his groin and genitalia - likely as the result of punches or kicks.

Scans also showed multiple and unsurvivable injuries to the child's brain, and both parents were taken to see their son before medical care was withdrawn on September 8.

Post-mortem examinations showed Leyton suffered fractures to his pubic bone area, his right wrist and his right leg in three places - femur, shin bone and outer leg bone - caused by pulling and twisting of his limbs, experts said.

Leyton suffered bleeding to both eyes indicating "significant" head trauma, consistent with non-accidental head injury, potentially caused by "vigorous shaking".

A V-shaped bruise on Leyton's forehead was consistent with an impact from a shod foot, and a pathologist said the extensive bruising and fractures to his groin was "most likely explained by Leyton having received a heavy blow or blows, such as a stamp or kick to his genital region".

Mr Usher told the jury: "The prosecution case is that, left alone with a baby who may well have been crying or even screaming that morning, Craig Dawick snapped and deliberately inflicted Leyton's fatal injuries."

Dawick, who denies murder, gave a "no comment" interview after his arrest but did provide a statement saying his son had suffered a fall at home which caused the ultimately fatal injuries.

Flynn, who described her on-off boyfriend as a "brilliant father" denies any wrongdoing.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow morning.

Press Association

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