‘Compulsive’ dad, 31, guilty of murdering five-week-old son in ‘disturbing’ case

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A man faces a mandatory life sentence after being convicted of murdering his baby son.

James Clark, 31, told the jury at Bristol Crown Court that he didn't harm Sean, who was just five weeks old when he was found dead in his cot in January 2018.

But Clark, of Warmley, was found guilty by the jury after a lengthy trial lasting just under a month, BristolLive reports.

His then-partner and baby Sean's mother, Helen Jeremy, 27, of Kingswood, was cleared in January 2018 of both murder and allowing or causing the death of a child.

The Honourable Mr Justice Butcher thanked the jury for its work on the case and remanded Clark in custody until his sentencing on September 24.

Sean was found dead in his cot while spending the weekend at Clark's mum's home in Neads Drive, Warmley, the court heard.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, they found no signs of life and no external injuries.

But when post-death medical exams were carried out, they revealed that the five-week old baby had sustained 71 fractured ribs as well as internal bruising and two bleeds on the brain.

An expert appeared in court who concluded that the baby's injuries were consistent with him being shaken.

Clark told the jury that he "enjoyed" fatherhood.

He said: "I liked it, I enjoyed it. I found some stuff quite difficult but I got through it."

He denied shaking his child.

Clark explained how he had a compulsive nature and liked to have his possessions arranged just so.

He said this habit also applied to ensuring Sean's milk was ready for him when Miss Jeremy visited with the baby from her mum's home where they lived.

Clark told the jury he enjoyed playing computer games.

When his barrister, Andrew Langdon QC, asked him if he ever took out frustration from gaming on Sean, he said he didn't.

Clark recalled a time when Sean was sick in a car on a trip, and was taken to a pharmacy.

He told the jury: "I don't remember Sean being taken to a GP."

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The court was painted a picture of how, at the end of 2017 and into 2018, Clark was engaged in early morning shift work while Miss Jeremy was caring for baby Sean at her mum's home.

The court has heard that from Thursday, January 11, 2018, Miss Jeremy took Sean for a long weekend to Clark's mum's home.

Miss Jeremy told the court Sean was crying a lot more than normal and she wasn't sure what was causing his distress.

She said on the morning of Sunday, January 14, she woke up and found Sean unresponsive in his cot.

Both she and Clark denied injuring the baby.

Ann Hampshire from the CPS said: “This was a tragic case where a very young child was the victim of several assaults, causing serious and ultimately fatal injuries.

“Only Clark knows exactly how Sean suffered those injuries and he maintained that he was not the cause.

“This case relied on evidence from some of the top medical experts in the country and was distressing case to investigate and for the jury to hear.

“The verdict demonstrates that the jury were satisfied that it was Clark who inflicted these injuries and they found him guilty of murder.”

A spokesperson for the NSPCC in the South West said: “This is a deeply upsetting and disturbing case in which a baby was killed by his own father.

“Babies and young children are entirely dependent on those who care for them and we all have a duty to look out for their welfare.

“Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000, while young people can call Childline on 0800 1111.”

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