Father jailed for shaking 15-week-old baby to death
A father has been jailed for nine years after being found guilty of shaking his 15-week-old son to death.
Matthew Jones, 26, left baby Cody Jones with fractured ribs and bleeds to his brain when he “lost it” in frustration with the child’s crying after being left alone with him for just one hour.
On Wednesday a court heard Jones, a talented rugby player, did not mean to kill his infant son but did intend to cause him “some harm” on December 7 2016.
He had been left alone with Cody for no more than an hour at their home in the Welsh village of Beaufort, Ebbw Vale, while his partner Paula Williams, who was described as a “perfect mother”, visited her sister nearby, the court heard.
Newport Crown Court heard Jones became “frustrated” with Cody after being unable to settle him and stop him from crying, leading to him grabbing his son and repeatedly shaking him.
Miss Williams returned home following calls from Jones stating his concern for their son to find him holding Cody in his arms, who had become “floppy”.
Jones made a 999 call, telling an operator: “My baby’s breathing, but he’s lifeless. He is making noises, but he’s breathing really slow.”
Cody died at Abergavenny’s Nevill Hall Hospital on December 8, with scans showing he had suffered fractured ribs and multiple haemorrhages which were consistent with “shaking or impact” injuries.
Jones was accused of murder, and claimed during his trial that he had been cradling Cody when the baby pushed away from him and fell head first onto his cot bed.
The jury cleared him of murder but found him guilty of manslaughter last week.
Richard Smith QC, defending Jones, told the court his client had “cared immensely” for Cody before causing his death, and had since shown “genuine remorse”.
Mr Smith said: “It was a young man who had been working extremely hard to provide for his family.
“It is clear from exchanges between him and Miss Williams the pair were exhausted and significantly lacking in sleep but were trying their very best between them to get through it.
“In that extreme tiredness his self control deserted him.”
Judge Mr Justice Simon Picken said Jones had not intended to kill Cody, but “lost it” after becoming frustrated at his failed attempts to quieten the baby’s crying.
The judge said: “The tragedy is not just that Cody died but that you as his father find yourself where you are as a consequence of his death.
“You will bare the burden no doubt for the rest of your life.”
Jones was sentenced to nine years in jail.