Nose-bite baby death: Southampton teen parents jailed

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Doulton Phillips and Alannah SkinnerImage source, Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption,
Doulton Phillips and Alannah Skinner had a "stormy relationship", the court heard

Two teenagers have been jailed over the death of their baby son who was bitten on the nose in a "violent assault".

Doulton Phillips, 17, also broke six-week-old Reggie's skull, ribs and leg at a mother-and-baby unit in Southampton in February.

He was detained for life with a minimum of 15 years at Winchester Crown Court after being convicted of the murder.

The baby's mother, Alannah Skinner, 19, was given a 30-month sentence after being found guilty of child cruelty.

'Gut-wrenching cry'

Neighbours heard the sounds of a violent argument at Skinner's flat in Defender Road in the early hours of 11 February, the court heard.

One told police she heard a baby's "gut-wrenching cry of pain" and "further screaming that turned her stomach", prosecutors said.

Image source, Crown Prosecution Service
Image caption,
Reggie Phillips was six weeks old when he died

Judge Mr Justice Spencer said Phillips, who was 16 at the time of the attack, had inflicted "truly appalling injuries" by swinging the baby against a hard surface.

"Such wicked cruelty towards a helpless, tiny baby is almost beyond belief," he said.

The infant died in hospital from a fatal head wound that had flattened the back of his skull, the court heard.

Phillips told the jury he had taken ecstasy and drunk vodka and lager shortly before the boy's death.

He had a "capacity for violence and loss of temper while in drink", prosecutors said.

'Defies belief'

Skinner, his former partner, had failed to protect the child and failed to summon medical help immediately, the jury was told.

Speaking of the nose-bite, the judge said: "It defies belief that any mother seeing that injury let the baby anywhere near the perpetrator, even if it was the father."

Both defendants were convicted on Thursday following a four-week trial.

Phillips, of Lydgate Road, Southampton, and Skinner, of Medwall Green in the city, will be detained in young offender institutions.

Southampton Safeguarding Children Board is reviewing the case.

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