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'I'll admit to murder' – father told police

Trial of Daniel McLaren continues

John Garvey


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Man denies murdering his own baby son

THE trial of a bricklayer accused of shaking his baby son to death heard today (Thursday) of the dramatic moment he was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Daniel McLaren, aged 29, admits manslaughter but denies murdering Jack, aged four-and-a-half months.

Reading Crown Court heard today that a detective said that, after the life support machine was turned off and Jack died, he approached McLaren in the hospital and separated him from his extended family.

On being told he was under arrest, McLaren said he wanted to kill himself to be with his son.

Det Sgt Stephen Merrington added that he later said: "Don't arrest [Jack's mother] Krystin. I don't want her arrested. I'll admit to murder."

The court heard McLaren also told detectives: "It's all sorted – we've spoken about it and I agreed to take the rap."

Earlier, jurors were told how McLaren had been left looking after the child by his fiancée, Krystin Bartholomew, for just an hour when he inflicted the devastating injuries.

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

In addition, he denies causing grievous bodily harm with intent to another child on a separate occasion but admits a lesser charge of GBH.

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

She said: "Daniel McLaren came home at 3.30pm from work, [she] went straight upstairs and had a bath. Ms Bartholomew was having an evening out to celebrate her sister's birthday.

"She came downstairs from getting ready, to see that Jack was awake and gurgling on his bean bag. She spent time talking to Jack and holding his hand. He was smiling away – normal, happy Jack." 

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

Jack would never smile again and died, days later, from devastating head injuries which doctors believe were caused by shaking, the jury of seven women and five men heard.

Jurors heard from forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Carey who said Jack's injuries meant his brain had swollen due to lack of oxygen.

He added: "As a result of breathing stopping, oxygen levels dropped in the blood... the heart goes into cardiac arrest.

"The brain is then deprived of oxygen. There has been movement trauma... severe brain damage due to lack of oxygen and this has caused the breathing to stop and/or the heartbeat."

The trial continues.