April 2022

Man convicted of killing his baby daughter sentenced

A man convicted of killing his baby daughter has been jailed for 14 years by a judge who insisted he must have known the harm he was causing his baby.

Christopher Easey, 31, who was also found guilty of neglect, was jailed for a total of 14 years by the honourable Mr Justice Murray, who said despite his lack of experience as a father and maturity he was “not a stupid man”

In her short life, the 14 week old baby suffered immense pain with extensive bleeding and neurological damage to her brain” as well as 31 rib fractures and five other sites of fracture to her limbs.

He said: “You must’ve known what you were doing was harming Eleanor.

“It must’ve been obvious to you there was a risk of really serious physical harm to her.”

Easey had been on trial at Norwich Crown Court charged with the murder of the three-month-old.

Carly Easey, 36 – who is now divorced from Christopher – had been on trial accused of allowing the death of her daughter as well as cruelty

Eleanor died from a catastrophic brain injury two days after being admitted to hospital on December 18, 2019 after paramedics were called to the family home at Morton on the Hill.

Both defendants had denied all offences, but on Friday (April 29) Christopher Easey, of Ely Road, Little Thetford, Ely, appeared for sentence after having been found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter last month after more than 20 hours of deliberations.

Mr Easey looked straight ahead and showed no emotion when he was sentenced, although his mother was visibly upset in the public gallery.

Mr Justice Murray said Eleanor died in December 2019 just 14 weeks after she was born.

He said she had suffered “extensive bleeding and neurological damage to her brain” as well as 31 rib fractures and five other sites of fracture to her limbs.

He said those injuries “couldn’t be explained by normal handling or even rough handling”.

Also sentenced was Carly Easey, of Elizabeth Drive, Cherdburgh, who was found not guilty of allowing the death of her daughter but guilty of neglect.

The judge accepted she had not been aware her husband was harming the baby and she was given a 12-month community order.

Mr Justice Murray told how both defendants had given Eleanor diluted squash and insisted it was “undeniable something was seriously wrong” with the way she was fed.

Verdicts in the case followed a 10-week trial during which the jury heard that baby Eleanor had sustained 31 rib fractures, including 17 at the front and 14 at the back, which were found to have occurred at four different times.

Medical experts described to the jury how the injuries Eleanor suffered were “strongly indicative of inflicted injury” while another expert found “a single traumatic event cannot explain these injuries”.

The trial had heard Christopher Easey was “responsible for those earlier injuries” and was “ultimately responsible for the death of Eleanor”.

The prosecution said Eleanor died from “a deliberate non-accidental injury involving some form of shaking and probably an impact to the right side of her head”.

Christopher Easey’s account of the injuries having occurred after he gave Eleanor a “resuscitative shake” was said to be a “pack of utter lies”.

The jury was also told during the trial that Carly Easey had been aware of the risk to her baby and “failed to protect Eleanor” by leaving her with Christopher and continuing to do so.

On Friday, Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, had said there was a “history of violence or abuse towards the victim in this case” who was “particularly vulnerable to her age”.

She said the offence was aggravated by the “number of detailed and convoluted accounts” the defendant made up afterwards “to cover up everything”.

Although there was “precious little any doctor could’ve done” to save Eleanor, given her injuries, she questioned whether Christopher Easey knew that at the time.

In terms of the cruelty charge Easey was convicted of, Miss Howes said there were “prolonged and multiple incidents of cruelty, including neglect”.

She said the post-mortem examination found Eleanor was a “poorly-nourished child” who had been in a “severe state of malnutrition”.

Miss Howes said they were leaving the night-time feeds “up to Eleanor” based on whether or not she woke, rather than waking her for feeds.

She told the court this meant Eleanor was therefore “missing out on valuable nutrition”.

Miss Howes said there were also occasions when Eleanor was left alone and the defendant “was aware of it”.

She said it had been “very early days” when Eleanor was not only premature but “very small and very vulnerable”.

In terms of Carly Easey, who was convicted of cruelty, Miss Howes said there was “wilful neglect” by the defendant.

She said it was not just the physical development that was affected but “the brain development which was affected in such a young baby”.

Miss Howes said Carly Easey herself had admitted in evidence that she left Eleanor alone for an hour and a half, while she was at least 100 metres away.