Leeds & West Yorkshire

Tony Burns jailed for killing infant daughter

Tony Burns Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Tony Burns shook his baby daughter to try to stop her crying

A man has been jailed for two years for killing his infant daughter.

Leeds Crown Court was told Tony Burns, 29, momentarily lost control and shook 18-week-old Darcey to stop her crying, in March 2009. She died in hospital.

Burns, of Stanningley Drive, Mixenden, West Yorkshire, admitted manslaughter.

His former partner, Victoria Smith, 25, was given a two-year community order for child neglect. Burns and Smith were described in court as having learning difficulties.

'Vigorous shaking'

Sentencing them, Judge Peter Collier QC said he was taking that into account and the long delay in the case being brought to court.

Det Supt Chris Walker, of West Yorkshire Police, said the force had worked hard to secure a conviction.

"A considerable amount of expert medical opinion was gathered, leading to the conclusion that she died as a direct result of the actions of her father, Tony Burns," he said.

"He now accepts that the brief but dangerously vigorous shaking he subjected her to caused the injuries that led to her death.

"Darcey's mother, Victoria Smith, likewise has also been sentenced for failing to seek immediate appropriate medical care and attention for what was clearly a very ill child.

"Justice has now been served, with the family and close relatives of Darcey finally being provided with an explanation as to what happened on that fateful morning."

BBC Look North's Crime Correspondent, John Cundy, said the delay between Darcey's death and charges being brought against Burns and Smith in December 2013 was not clearly explained in court but that "a number of factors" had contributed.

He said Judge Collier had described the delay as "totally unacceptable".

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