December 2017 – Now living in Essex

May 2013

Man sentenced to seven years for baby death


A man who killed his four-week-old daughter by shaking her violently has been jailed for seven years.

Benjamin Roach, 24, from Plymouth, had denied the manslaughter of Roxie-Jo Hopkins-Roach, who died in September 2010, but was convicted unanimously.

One of her injuries was similar to what might be seen as a result of a road crash, Plymouth Crown Court was told.

Doctors told the trial injuries suffered by Roxie could not have been caused accidently.

Jurors heard Roach, of Tailyour Road, may have shaken the baby before throwing her down hard on to a sofa or bed, and the baby would have been blind if she had survived.

The court heard it happened the first time Roach was left alone with Roxie-Jo.

Judge Graham Cottle said: “You simply lost your temper and self control and committed a serious and unlawful act on a helpless baby.”

Jurors at Roach’s trial heard Ms Hopkins left him to look after Roxie as she nipped to the supermarket on September 23, 2010.

When she got home minutes later she found paramedics at her door and her daughter fighting for her life inside.

Roxie’s life support machine was switched off the following day – less than a month after she was born on August 27.

The little girl suffered retinal haemorrhaging and bleeding within her skull and brain. Had she survived she would have been blind and brain damaged.

Police were called to the house in Plymstock Roach shared with Roxie-Jo’s mother, Kelly Hopkins, on 23 September 2010.

Roach told police Roxie was “screaming” and “crying heavily” after he was left alone with her.

He said he picked her up to calm her down but she suddenly became “floppy”.

However Roach later changed his story and said he had dropped her 4ft (1.2m) on to a carpeted floor.

Roxie-Jo was taken to a high-dependency unit where she died the day after, police said.

Judge Cottle said: “Nearly three years have now gone by and you have continued to deny Kelly and others some closure.

“You have been concerned only for preserving your own skin. Your response has been utterly unforgiveable.”

He said Roach had “persistently evaded the truth” and had “evaded responsibility for what happened from the outset”.

After the verdict, Ms Hopkins said her daughter “can now rest in peace and justice has been served”.

“I’ve got the verdict that I want… I’ve got justice for my daughter which is what I’ve been fighting for for the past two-and-a-half years,” she added.

Judge Cottle added:

The injuries were described by one of the witnesses in the case as some of the worst he has seen.

It was the injuries of a child being very violently shaken and deliberately thrown or dropped. Only you know what happened but ever since you have evaded the truth.

Nearly three years have now gone by and you have continued to deny Kelly and others the opportunity to have some closure over Roxie’s death.

You have been concerned only by covering your own self. Your response has been unforgivable.