Teenage dad who shook baby daughter to death jailed

15 October 2019, 21:09

Thomas Haining pleaded guilty to killing his daughter in 2017
Thomas Haining pleaded guilty to killing his daughter in 2017. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

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

Thomas Haining, who was 19 at the time of his daughter's death, had previously been charged with murdering 23-day-old Mikayla.

However, prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide and sentenced him to eight years in prison.

He inflicted "catastrophic" brain injuries on his baby during what was described as a "momentary loss of control".

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Haining left his baby with a fractured skull and several broken ribs and she died the next day.

They also heard how Haining had stayed up on the night of June 7 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.

Haining was convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh
Haining was convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: PA

Mobile phone records showed that Haining had made internet searches that same evening including the phrase: "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.

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

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

The court heard how Haining 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."