Gosport baby death trial: Tot's injuries could have come from being '˜thrown across a room'

A NEWBORN baby who died from a catastrophic head injury just 24 days after being born could have been '˜thrown across a room', a court has heard.

Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 8:19 am
Updated Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 9:21 am
Stanley Davis. Picture: PA/Hampshire police
Stanley Davis. Picture: PA/Hampshire police

Three-week-old Stanley Davis suffered 42 fractures across his tiny body, including a skull fracture which caused a deadly bleed on the brain.

His mother Roxanne Davis, 30, of Lee Road, Gosport, and her ex-partner Samuel Davies, 24, of Mayfield Road, Southampton, are on trial accused of causing or allowing the death of the infant. They both deny the charge.

Winchester Crown Court heard evidence from Dr Peter Richards, a consultant paediatric neurosurgeon, who conducted a report into Stanley's death.

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Stanley Davis. Picture: PA/Hampshire police

Dr Richards was asked to explain to the jury how a baby could have been dealt such a horrific head injury '“ one powerful enough to fracture the skull and cause a fatal bleed on the brain.

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He said: 'The major brain injuries and skull fractures we see come from falling down from a first floor window, falling down a whole flight of stairs or being in a buggy hit by a car.

'That's where you see fractures and severe injuries.'

Roxanne Davis

He added it was unlikely Stanley would have suffered his extensive injuries from being dropped from waist height or from rolling off a chair.

Speaking of Stanley's injuries, which included multiple rib fractures, he added: '˜It could all be explained by a forcible shake followed by an impact against something hard.

'I cannot exclude the possibility of being thrown across the room and against a wall.'

The court was shown harrowing footage shared onto Davis's Facebook account of her son fitting on the night of March 20 '“ the evening before he was taken to hospital.

Davis could be heard giggling in the background of the footage as the young tot's arms squirmed while he fitted.

But as it was played twice in court, she wept in the dock, at one point sobbing inconsolably.

Dr Richards told the jury there were signs from the brief video which '˜immediately struck him' as '˜not being right', including Stanley's irregular arm movements, closed eyes and weak cry.

He said this was a clear indication that Stanley had suffered a severe head injury.

'˜As a child neurosurgeon I would take one look at that and say that's a severely encephalopathic infant,' he said. '˜Not catastrophically collapsed but there's something very wrong with that child.'

He added it was likely an impact forceful enough to fracture Stanley's skull would have rendered the baby unconscious and that changes in the youngster's responses and behaviour would have been noticeable.

However, under cross-examination, Davies' defence barrister Sally Howes QC said seizures in young babies could easily be overlooked by parents and even clinicians.

She said: 'Seizures can be very subtle, almost to the point of someone perhaps not noticing that it is a seizure.

'Is it occasionally the case that the subtleties of seizure movement in young children has passed by clinicians?'

Dr Richards agreed and said it was possible for these symptoms to be occasionally overlooked.

However, he said: '˜They may have misinterpreted what they were seeing as something cute. but I don't think anybody could have thought this was completely normal.'