Manslaughter Admission

Derby man jailed for killing disabled baby son.

A father has been jailed for seven years after admitting killing his disabled seven-month-old son. 

Nathan Pick, 38, lashed out at James-Lee because he could not get him to stop screaming at their home in Chaddesden, Derbyshire. 

The baby, who was born with a heart defect and had to be tube-fed, suffered brain injuries and died the next day in hospital as a result of the blow to the back of the head. 

Pick was arrested on suspicion of murder and and charged, but originally claimed to police that James-Lee had begun to fit and hit his head in his swing chair. 

But on Wednesday, a week before his trial was due to start, he admitted manslaughter at Nottingham Crown Court. 

In mitigation today, Shaun Smith QC, defending Pick, said it had not been a deliberate act to kill or cause serious injury to the child.

"He was frustrated by his inability to be accepted by his baby son. 

He is truly sorry for this. He would not want this to happen to anybody else.'' 

The court heard James-Lee spent three months in hospital after being born with a heart defect in October 2011. 

His mother, Hannah Goldby, who was Pick's partner at the time, called James-Lee ``her little fighter''. He required medication and care each day, the court heard. Pick struggled to bond with his son and grew frustrated that he could not calm the child. 

On May 7 last year, Pick ``snapped'' and lashed out at his son while the child was in his swing chair. He called Ms Goldby, who had gone to the fish shop, and said: ``Come back quick. He's fitting. I think he's dead,'' then called 999. 

Paramedics attended and found James-Lee ``very blue and flaccid... lifeless and still''. 

The baby was taken to Royal Derby Hospital before being transferred to the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

An MRI scan revealed he had suffered brain injuries, swelling to the brain and bleeding into his spinal cord. His life support machine was switched off on May 8. Tragically he was the second child Ms Goldby had lost in three years. Her daughter Zoe died of sudden infant death syndrome in 2009 when she was seven weeks old. There were no suspicious circumstances, the court heard. 

Sentencing Pick at the same court today, Mr Justice Julian Flaux said:

"You clearly found the reaction from your son frustrating and upsetting.'' 

He said he accepted Pick had not set out to kill or seriously harm his child but that his son could not be blamed for crying. He also accepted Pick, who has a 12-year-old son, was not a violent or bad man. There was no history of abuse or violence, he added. 

The judge added:

"The stress caused you to snap. You did not intend to kill him or cause him serious injuries but you now accept that blow was an unlawful act.'' The judge told Pick he would need to pass a sentence of imprisonment because a ``defenceless and vulnerable'' child had died as a result of his actions. 

He jailed Pick, who appeared tearful in the dock, for seven years. Mr Justice Flaux told family and friends in the public gallery that he hoped the conclusion of the case would provide them with some comfort.

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