Essex

Chantelle Pilkington case: Father gave baby 'little shake'

A man accused of murdering his baby told police he feared he would be blamed for the death as he "gave her a little shake", a court has heard.

Tom Smith, 25, of Fernbrook Avenue, Southend, denies the murder of Chantelle Pilkington.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Mr Smith was living with the baby and her mother in Friars Street, Shoebury, Essex, at the time of the death in August 2009.

The eight-week-old baby had suffered head injuries, the court heard.

Chantelle died at Great Ormond Street Hospital four days after the incident.

Prosecutor John Dodd said Mr Smith had been left alone with his daughter and another child on 9 August 2009, while his Chantelle's mother, Claire Pilkington, went out briefly.

'A little shake'

Within minutes he rang his girlfriend to say Chantelle had stopped breathing. He said that he found her turning blue.

Mr Dodd said: "Her injuries were consistent with shaking and happened at around the time she was found.

"There was no medical condition which would account for this unexpected and unexplained collapse."

Mr Smith made a 999 call asking for an ambulance and for help resuscitating the girl.

He later told police Chantelle had been crying and he went into the kitchen to make her some food. When he returned she had stopped breathing and blood was coming from her nose, his statement added.

He later spoke of his fear he would be blamed for the killing because he "gave her a little shake".

He added: "I shook her to see if she would respond to that. She wouldn't respond to anything."

Mr Dodd told jurors: "We say Chantelle died from non-accidental injuries. She suffered head injuries of such a degree and nature as to cause internal bleeding on the brain.

"Consequently, this caused damage to the brain which led to her collapse. She never recovered."

The night before her death, Chantelle had been "laughing and happy", Mr Dodd said. The following morning she had seemed healthy and was feeding well.

The case continues.

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