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  1. ITV Report

Father guilty of murdering his newborn son

Joshua Millinson Credit: ITV News Central

A father has been convicted of murdering his newborn baby son in Wolverhampton last October.

Daniel Sanzone, 23, is thought to have shaken his son Joshua Millinson while left alone with him at home, causing "catastrophic" injuries to his brain and spine.

Neuropathologist, Dr Daniel Duplessis, who examined Joshua's brain and spinal cord, said damage to it was "at the most extreme end of the spectrum".

Opthalmic pathologist, Dr Richard Bonshek, who examined Joshua's eyes and found both retinas were detached, said the bleeding to them was "within the more severe range of his post-mortem experience".

And osteopathologist, Professor David Mangham, said six rib fractures were caused by a "squeezing action", and six leg fractures were the result of "forcible twisting".

All these findings and more taken together pointed to the horrific truth: that Daniel Sanzone had vigorously, and literally, shaken the life out of his thirteen day old son.

Daniel Sanzone has been found guilty of murdering his baby son Credit: ITV News Central

Joshua's mother Zoe Howell was cleared of causing or allowing the death of a child.

Little Joshua should have turned one on October 11 and his mother should have been celebrating.

Instead she was standing trial at Birmingham Crown Court, as testimony from a succession of experts described to a jury the injuries inflicted by her partner Daniel Sanzone on her newborn son.

Clutching a teddy bear and weeping throughout much of the trial, she told police immediately after the fatal assault: "I can't believe the dad has done it".

During several hours in the witness box she said that Sanzone - who declined to give evidence in his own defence - was a good father and that she did not realise he posed a danger to her son.

But the jury found Sanzone guilty of murder and child cruelty and cleared Zoe Howell of causing or allowing Joshua's death.

Joshua's mother Zoe Howell has been cleared of causing or allowing her son's death Credit: ITV News Central
  • A & E visits

Joshua was fatally attacked on the 24th of October 2015.

His parents had taken him to A & E at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton on two previous occasions the week before.

The first time his mother said he had a rash and a temperature; doctors wanted to keep him in overnight, but Zoe Howell discharged herself and went home.

The second time she said he was having breathing difficulties and his leg was swollen; doctors found he was well, but referred him to a paediatric review clinic the same day - an appointment his parents failed to keep.

The next time staff at the A & E saw Joshua he was brought in by ambulance in a state of collapse.

  • High Court orders treatment withdrawn

Joshua was moved to Birmingham Children's hospital and placed in intensive care on the 25th of October.

On the 4th of November he was assessed by a consultant from Manchester Children's Hospital who said his brain injury was so severe that he would never recover, and that his treatment should be withdrawn.

But Zoe Howell refused to give her consent. It was another three weeks before an order obtained in High Court made it possible for life support to be switched off without her consent.

She cradled her son in her arms as he died on the 21st of November. Within a few months, she would be charged with allowing that death.