Man who shook baby daughter to death jailed for eight years

15 October 2019, 18:11 | Updated: 15 October 2019, 19:08

A man who admitted shaking his baby daughter to death has been jailed for eight years.

Thomas Haining, who was 19 at the time, had been charged with murdering 23-day-old Mikayla, but prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

He inflicted "catastrophic" brain injuries on his daughter during a "momentary loss of control", the High Court in Edinburgh heard.

The baby was left in a coma with a fractured skull and several broken ribs following the incident and died the next day.

The court heard how Haining had stayed up on the night of 7 June 2017 to take care of Mikayla, who had been crying more than usual and suffering from diarrhoea in the days before her death.

Haining claims that when his ex-girlfriend Shannon Davies was asleep upstairs in their Inverness home, he took the baby out of her Moses basket to feed her in the middle of the night, after which he said she became sleepy and unresponsive.

Mobile phone records showed that Haining had made four internet searches during this time, trying to find out information about babies being in a coma and asking: "What happens if a newborn baby is shake hard?"

Emergency services attended and the baby was rushed to hospital where she was placed in intensive care with a ventilator, having suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of the head trauma.

She was later taken off life support and died in her mother's arms at 4.46pm on 8 June.

Haining denied killing his daughter for two years, but prosecutors accepted a guilty plea from him to the charge of culpable homicide on 5 September.

Shelagh McCall QC, representing Haining, told the court on Tuesday that he was prepared for a lengthy time in prison and that he now "hated" himself.

She claimed Haining panicked after his daughter's death and now wishes he had come clean about his actions sooner.

The court heard how Haining, now 21, had a troubled upbringing and a history of violence as a teenager, though he had no previous criminal convictions.

Judge Lord Pentland said the killing was "clearly a violent and severe assault on a highly vulnerable baby".

He continued: "After the attack, you delayed in seeking assistance and for a time attempted to conceal what you had done.

"Your immediate reaction was to protect yourself, rather than seek help for Mikayla."

Haining was sentenced to eight years in prison, backdated to 11 September, which the judge said that would have been nine years if it had gone to trial.