February 2013

Jailed for nine years: Killer dad who shook his baby son to death


A killer dad who claimed he had been bouncing his baby son on his knee was today found guilty of shaking him to death.

Lee Clark, 28, was jailed for nine years for the manslaughter of five-month-old son Charlee Cameron Clark just two days before he was due to be christened.

The mother of the child, Clark’s then fiancee, said the tot was ‘smiling’ and ‘happy’ when she left the family home in Gainford, Co Durham to go shopping for clothes for the ceremony on February 25, 2011 at 10.45am.

She returned that afternoon to find him making a ‘funny groaning sound’, with his eyes ‘rolling backwards’. It was obvious he was ‘extremely ill’, a court heard.

Hospital tests revealed bleeding to his swollen brain, with further bleeding in and around his eyes, prosecutor Andrew Roberts said.

Attempts were made to treat Charlee in the intensive care unit of Darlington Memorial Hospital, but he died five days after being admitted to hospital on March 1.

Clark had asked doctors if Charlee’s injuries could have been caused by ‘bouncing’ him on his knee. Police and social services were called in.

Bar manager Clark told doctors: “I have not shaken the baby.”

He had no previous convictions and was a ‘good dad’ but had ‘lost his temper’ with his son, said judge Mr Justice Coulson.

Clark, found guilty after a jury trial, was pictured smiling on several occasions as he arrived at Newcastle crown court to hear evidence.

The judge told him: “The circumstances of what happened will only ever be known by you.

“At some point in the morning, when you were responsible for Charlee, you lost your temper with him and you shook him.

“As a result of the shaking, Charlee ultimately collapsed and died.”

He added: “All of the evidence including from Charlee’s mother is that you were a good dad and I accept that.”

After the verdict, the childs mother said words could not describe the devastation she felt at the loss of her ‘beautiful baby son’.

She added: “It is now almost two years since his death and I cannot say how much we as a family miss him and just how difficult it has been trying to come to terms with our tragic loss.

“Charlee was such a happy, relaxed gorgeous baby boy who was always smiling and we continue to think of him and miss him every day.

“As a family we feel relieved that the truth is out and justice has been done for Charlee.”

Det Supt Adrian Green, the man leading the police investigation, told how Clark refused to co-operate and so brought further pain and anguish to the mother.

“I hope the verdict has provided the answers the family sought and takes them some way further towards coping with the loss of Charlee,” he said.