Manslaughter Plea Accepted in Baby Murder Prosecution – 8 Year Sentence Imposed

June 5, 2018

The Crown last week accepted a young defendant’s plea of guilty to manslaughter, offering no evidence on the alternative count of murder. Oliver Saxby QC was defending, leading Chris Wray of Bond Joseph Solicitors.

James Ring was aged 20 when his 9-week old baby suffered a catastrophic brain injury which, despite expert medical intervention, proved fatal. The Crown alleged that the injury had been caused by shaking and/or impact of a severe degree. This was against the background of Mr Ring having a temper and in the past having struck his baby over the back of the head. The Crown were able to prove that she had been in Mr Ring’s care for a 17-minute period during which she had become limp and lifeless. Further, they relied on expert medical evidence to the effect that the act causing the fatal injury must have immediately preceded her collapse.

On this important issue, the Crown had instructed the following experts: Dr Charlotte Randall (Forensic Pathologist), Dr Andreas Marnerides (Consultant Peri-natal/Paediatric Consultant), Dr McCarthy (Consultant Histopathologist), Dr Ruth Williams (Paediatric Neurologist), Professor Safa Al Sarraj (Consultant Neuropathologist) and Mr Amadeo Calisto (Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon).

In the event, the Crown accepted Mr Ring’s plea of guilty to manslaughter, entered on the basis that – under stress, tired and ill-equipped to deal with fatherhood – he shook his baby, briefly, causing the fatal injuries. He denied any intent either to kill or to inflict really serious harm on the baby – something accepted by the Crown; and he was formally acquitted of the count of murder.

Sentence took place on Monday. Mr Ring was sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment.

Please use the links below for news coverage of the case:-

The Daily Mail
The Sun
BBC News
The Mirror