Dad jailed for shaking baby to death

AN angry dad shook his baby daughter to death while in a bad mood because she woke him up.

Gary Allen shook five-month-old Alisha Allen like a "rag doll" when she

started crying in her cot.

The tot suffered brain damage and she died in hospital four days later.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Allen had a history of mood swings and problems with anger and had confessed he wouldn't trust himself around her if she cried for too long.

The 26-year-old admitted manslaughter on the basis of a sudden loss of temper.

The baby's mother Claire Morton, 31, admitted causing or allowing the death of a child on the basis that she was living in fear of Allen.

The court heard the couple are both of low intelligence and were inadequate parents who had little understanding of childcare.

It was on January 21 last year, paramedics were called to the couple's home in Marigold Crescent, Burnmoor, County Durham, and found Alisha unconscious with bruises on her face.

A CT scan revealed she had brain damage, as well as eleven old and

new bruises to her body, and after being transferred to an intensive care unit in Newcastle she died on January 24.

After her death, both parents denied any knowledge of what had happened.

But later that year, after the couple split, Morton confessed to police what had really happened.

Paul Sloan QC, prosecuting, said: "She said that Sunday morning Alisha cried when she put her back to bed following her feed.

"Alisha's crying woke Gary up and as a result he was in a mood.

"When Alisha started crying again after his relatives arrived Gary was very angry and displayed a really bad attitude.

"He went upstairs and she heard Alisha give a weird cry. It was as if she was in so much pain. She also heard a loud bang then it went all quiet.

"Gary Allen shouted and she reached the bedroom and saw him holding Alisha with his hands around both sides of her ribs.

"He was shaking her like a ragdoll, backwards and forwards."

Morton told officers she lived a life of fear at Allen's hands and he once attacked her and pinned her against the wall.

She said she didn't trust Allen to be alone with the baby because of his


The court heard how baby Alisha had been on the child protection register with Sunderland social services from being in her mum's womb.

But when the couple left their home in Sunderland and moved to nearby

Burnmoor in County Durham her status was reduced to being a "child in need" by Chester-le-Street social services.

The couple received regular visits from health professionals after the


David Robson QC, defending, said Allen finds it "very painful" to

think about what he has done.

The court heard Morton already had one child to another man when she met


She had another child with Allen after the death of Alisha and is now

pregnant again by another man.

Judge David Hodson sentenced Allen to five years imprisonment and Morton to 52 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for two years with supervision.

Both were banned from ever working with children.

The judge said there were undoubted failings by social services in the

case, but declined to say which department or individual may have been