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Newbury man 'shook his son to death', court hears

Daniel McLaren denies murdering four-month-old

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

Man denies murdering his own baby son

A FATHER shook his baby son to death, a jury has heard. 

Reading Crown Court was told yesterday how four-and-half-month-old Jack McLaren suffered severe brain damage as a result, which led to his life support being switched off days later without him ever regaining consciousness.

His father, Daniel, aged 29, had been left looking after the child by his fiancée, Krystin Bartholomew, for just an hour when he inflicted the devastating injuries, the court heard.

McLaren, a bricklayer who was living at Fleetwood Close, Newbury, denies murder but admits manslaughter.

In addition, he has denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent to another child on a separate occasion, but admitted a lesser charge of plain GBH.

Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, said Ms Bartholomew left McLaren at home with Jack on the evening of Friday, June 2, last year, to celebrate her sister’s birthday with a family meal.

She told police that, when she left, “Jack was talking to himself, playing with his hands... I need to know what happened. Jack was fine when I left... he was smiling.”

Just after 7.30pm, emergency services received a call from McLaren to say Jack had “gone all funny... all stiff and then floppy”.

Ms Howes said medics immediately recognised Jack’s condition was critical. 

The jury heard paramedics found Jack apparently suffering seizures with fixed pupils and completely unresponsive.

Scans later showed bleeding on his brain, retinas and optic nerves consistent with brain trauma.

He was struggling to breathe and had no recordable blood pressure.

He was taken from Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading to the paediatric intensive care unit at Southampton General Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma.

Two operations failed to relieve the pressure on his brain and he continued to deteriorate.

When scans showed brain death had occurred, life support was withdrawn.

Jack would never smile again and died days later – at 10.10pm on June 4 last year – from devastating head injuries which doctors believe were caused by shaking, the court heard.

The jury of jury of seven women and five men will hear the 999 call made by McLaren and the trial is expected last until October 19.