July 2008

RAF man tried to blame wife after he killed baby daughter

An RAF technician who shook his baby daughter to death then blamed his wife for the killing was jailed for six years and eight months today.

Gareth Harries, 25, attacked eight-month-old Chloe when she would not stop crying.

He initially blamed his wife Hayley for their baby’s death, but admitted the culpable homicide of the infant during his trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The incident took place in November 2006 at the home he shared with his wife in Lossiemouth, where Harries was based.

Jailing Harries, Judge Lady Dorrian said today it was clear he must have used ‘significant force’.

She told him: ‘You used such force on a helpless baby. The consequences of that will be with you for the rest of your life.

‘I recognise that by pleading you have spared the need for your wife to give evidence, which would clearly have been traumatic for her.

‘However, it reflects very sadly on you that you waited until this stage to do so and even worse that you previously maintained a defence of incrimination, blaming your wife for the death of her own child, which must have made the traumatic effect of the child’s death even worse for her.’

Lady Dorrian said she took into account that Harries had expressed ‘deep and genuine remorse’ for his actions and also that he had not intended to harm his daughter.

But she added there was ‘no alternative’ but to impose a custodial sentence.

Harries, from Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, was originally charged with murdering Chloe. But he later admitted a lesser charge of culpable homicide, and killing his daughter by repeatedly shaking her.