July 2013

Father jailed for eight years for killing his newborn daughter who suffered ‘a chilling catalogue of injuries’


  • Lee Davison found guilty of causing or allowing death of daughter Kristal 

  • Seven-week-old baby died in April last year after parents called 999 

  • She had bleeding behind the eyes, brain damage, broken ribs and legs 

  • Mother Jessica Hopkinson cleared of charges at Leeds Crown Court 

  • Judge told Davison, 28, if he ‘had protected her, she would have lived’

A father has been jailed for eight years after his seven-week-old daughter died from a ‘chilling catalogue of injuries’. 

Lee Davison, 29, was sentenced on Friday after being found guilty of causing or allowing the death of his daughter Kristal. 

The tiny baby died on April 13 last year after being rushed to hospital from their home with bleeding behind the eyes, brain damage and broken ribs and legs.

Mr Justice Andrew Smith told Davison, who wept in the dock as he was sentenced, that although it could not be said he had caused his daughter’s death, he had failed to protect her.

He told Davison, who has 11 previous convictions for 15 offences, that he must have been aware his daughter was suffering and was therefore responsible for allowing Kristal to die.

Kristal’s mother, Jessica Hopkinson, was cleared of the same charge following a four-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.

The judge told Davison: ‘Even if you didn’t injure her yourself, I’m sure you must have been aware of these [injuries] by the beginning of April.

‘You did nothing and you should have done. You bear responsibility because you knew she was being hurt and couldn’t face up to doing anything about it.

‘If you, her father, had protected her, she would have lived.

‘Your sentence must reflect her suffering, in particular the last two weeks of  her life.’ 

The judge said that in the first three weeks of her shot life, Kristal suffered damage to her femur and head, which caused bleeding behind the eyes. 

He said the ‘chilling catalogue of injuries’ showed Kristal was seriously hurt on at least five occasions.

Davison called an ambulance on the morning of April 12 last year reporting that Kristal was gasping for breath at their home in Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

When paramedics arrived, the baby was found to be pale, limp and lifeless and was taken to hospital, where she died the following day.


Mr Justice Smith said: ‘Around the second week of March she suffered rib fractures – 12 in total.

‘Around the time she was squeezed by somebody holding her under the arms, probably someone acting out of anger and temper. Two bones in her left leg were broken.

‘And she suffered bone damage – her skull was broken – someone had hit or banged her head on something hard.

‘She suffered bleeding in her eyes and brain by shaking.’ 

The judge said Hopkinson was the ‘dominant character’ in the house and was abusive to his partner, who is nearly ten years younger than him. 

He said: ‘She was young. She had no confidence about being a mother or anything else.

‘At times you were abusive and violent towards her. You couldn’t keep your  temper and you took it out on her.

‘I’m not saying you never had any real affection for her. I think in your way you did.

‘I also think you were pleased when Krystal was born and you were generally 
fond of her.’

He accepted that Davison is of a low intellect, but said that he must have been aware of the injuries adding: ‘It really would beggar belief and defy the jury’s verdict if it were any other way.’

Hopkinson and Davison started a relationship in early 2011 with Hopkinson falling pregnant in May that year, after which they were seen by social workers.

The court was told that Davison had previously been given community orders after beating up a former girlfriend on three occasions. 

In August 2004, when he was 20, he pleaded guilty to common assault.

In June 2006, when he was 21, he pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, after he headbutted his then girlfriend – knocking her unconscious.

And on a third occasion, in May 2007, he was given a community order for assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he rowed with his then-girlfriend over a pizza.

He pushed her into a wall, and when she struck out at him to defend herself, he punched her in the face, causing her to fall onto the floor – where he continued to strike her.

She was left with broken ribs after the attack.