Jailed for seven and a half years: Man who shook baby to death while boy's mother went shopping
A man who caused 'catastrophic brain damage' to a baby while the boy's mother went shopping has been jailed for seven and a half years for manslaughter.
Slater Sharkey suffered 25 bruises from his head to his toes when he died aged 13 months in December 2010, a jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard.
Richard Morgan, 32, of Tantobie, Co Durham, beat and shook the youngster 18 hours before his death. His partner Rachel Peacock, 31, was convicted of cruelty to a child but cleared of causing or allowing her son's death.
During the trial, Andrew Robertson QC told jurors Slater died of 'catastrophic brain damage' at the hands of Morgan, who was looking after him while Peacock went to the local shops.
His lifeless body was taken to hospital but he died hours later on December 11, 2010. Mr Robertson said: "Rachel Peacock left Slater playing with his toys. When she left, she left the child in Richard Morgan's sole custody. When she returned, Slater was unconscious. Richard Morgan was panicking but he hadn't telephoned an ambulance.
"Richard Morgan's account was he had simply gone to the toilet leaving Slater playing with his toys in the living room floor and when he returned, Slater was face-down on the floor not breathing."
The youngster was found to have suffered multiple head wounds consistent with being beaten or struck against something, and had bruises on his legs which suggested he had been gripped tightly.
A pathologist discovered he also had 'extensive and severe' bleeding in his eyes and bleeding and swelling to the brain – a sign he was violently shaken.
Mr Robertson added: "The fatal injury can only have occurred when the child was left alone with Richard Morgan. This wasn't a one-off assault."