October 2020: Now released and living in Eastriggs near Dumfries
Dumfries man jailed for killing 15-week-old Zaiidyn Burke
A Dumfries man has been jailed for killing a 15-week-old baby boy by shaking him in a fit of anger causing fatal brain injuries.
Paul Burgess, 25, attacked Zaiidyn Burke at a house in the town in October 2012.
A court heard that at the time he assaulted the child, he was suffering from a hangover.
He was jailed for seven-and-a-half years having previously admitted a charge of culpable homicide.
Passing sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Boyd told Burgess: “You have led an unproductive and selfish life marked by use of cannabis and alcohol.
“The death of any young child is always devastating – but even more so when the death is by criminal acts of another person.
“From reading the victim impact statement, it is clear to see the grief and loss of the family.
“There is nothing I can do to restore their loss.”
Burgess was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow last month.
He was originally charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide.
Sentence had been deferred to Edinburgh for reports about his character.
A court had previously heard he had been left in charge of the baby for just over an hour at a house in Sunderries Avenue in Dumfries.
When the child’s mother, Jade Caven, returned home she realised something was wrong.
The child’s lips and face were turning blue and he appeared completely lifeless.
He was rushed to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and then transferred to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.
The baby’s father Lee Burke was at Ms Caven’s side when the baby died on 29 October 2012, two days after Burgess’s assault.
Lord Boyd told Burgess that he would have got nine years if he had been convicted following a trial.
Man admits killing 15-week-old baby boy after losing temper
A man has admitted killing a 15-week old baby boy by shaking him in a fit of anger.
Paul Burgess, 25, from Dumfries, who was originally charged with murder, pled guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide of Zaiidyn Burke on October 27, 2012.
The High Court in Glasgow heard that while Zaiidyn’s distraught parents were at his bedside, Burgess went to a Halloween party dressed in a costume and then went out drinking.
Baby Zaiidyn died on October 29, 2012 after his parents agreed to take him off a life support system as he had un-survivable brain injuries.
The court heard that Burgess was left in charge of the baby for just over an hour between 1.20pm and 2.30pm while his mother took a four-year-old girl to hospital after she fell and struck her head on a coffee table.
Prosecutors believe he lost his temper while trying to feed the baby and then launched the attack.
Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, said: “The accused was left to care for the baby, including giving him a feed.”
The court heard the accused, who had started a relationship with the mother some weeks after she gave birth to Jaiidyn, had previously done this without incident.
At 2.20pm he sent the mother a text asking how long she would be. When she entered the living room ten minutes later Burgess seemed nervous.
Jaiidyn was in his bouncy chair and had been changed out of his pyjamas into day wear.
Mr McSporran said: “The accused indicated a full bottle of milk on a table explaining that the baby had only taken a few mouthfuls. He went on to say the baby had choked a little, but he had patted his back and “sorted it” before putting him in the bouncy chair.”
The mother was surprised at this as he was normally a good feed and immediately looked at her son and realised something was far wrong. His lips and face were turning blue and he appeared completely lifeless.
She picked up her son and placed him on the couch and gently shook him, but there was no response.
The accused carried out chest compressions, while she phoned 999. The mother was too frantic and upset to assist the emergency call handler and passed the phone to Burgess, whose very calm demeanour struck the call handler as unusual.
The baby was taken to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and then transferred to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.
The baby’s father Lee Burke was at Ms Caven’s side when Zaiidyn died in her arms at 4.25pm on October 29.
They were described by hospital staff as “hysterical and distraught” in contrast to Burgess who appeared unconcerned, detached and very matter of fact.
The court was told that a CT scan of the baby’s head and spine at Dumfries showed the type of brain injury caused in baby shaking cases. A consultant opthalmologist who examined the baby at Yorkhill Hospital confirmed the presence of haemorrhages in the eyes suggestive of a shaken baby.
He said that the extent and degree of the haemorrhaging was the worst he had seen since qualifying as a doctor in 1993.
Ms Caven and Burgess later broke up after he appeared in court charged with murder. Mr McSporran told the court: “The relationship ended during the sheriff court proceedings as the truth dawned on her.
“There was no evidence that would explain the sudden change in the baby’s health that afternoon. He had been healthy and alert when left in the sole care of the accused – and unresponsive an hour later.”
“The sheriff concluded that the accused had been required unexpectedly and at short notice to look after the baby.
“The sheriff found that Zaiidyn was the victim of an assault causing fatal injuries and that the accused was responsible for that assault.
“The Crown accepts that the accused, for some reason as yet unknown, but most probably associated with difficulty feeding the baby, suffered a loss of temper and shook him with sufficient force to cause fatal brain injuries.”
Judge Lord Boyd deferred sentence until next month for background reports and remanded Burgess in custody. Defence QC Edward Targowski will give his plea in mitigation then.