Girl died after violent shaking by father

Curtis
Benjamin Curtis 'lost control' Credit: Surrey Police

A father who violently shook his baby daughter, leaving her with severe brain damage which contributed to her death, was today jailed for two years after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Ocean Elliot was three and half months when Benjamin Curtis 'lost control' and caused injuries which left his daughter functionally blind and suffering from severe seizures. She died just over two years later having contracted swine flu after complications caused by injuries inflicted by Curtis.

Ocean was forced to spend long periods in hospital and, despite the fact the assault had taken place two years earlier, a court heard that the injuries she suffered were a significant contributory factor in the cause of her death.

Curtis, 30, from Mallard Close, Eastbourne was due to stand trial for manslaughter but changed his plea to guilty at Guildford Crown Court today. The court heard that Ocean had been left in his care at an address in Sheerwater, Woking, on the night of 2 April 2007.

Curtis called on a neighbour that night claiming his daughter had started shaking and shivering when he went to change her nappy. He called for an ambulance and later told doctors that Ocean had bumped her head on the side of her cot.

However later medical examinations concluded that the injuries she had suffered were as a result of head trauma caused by shaking. Curtis was arrested and at first denied causing Ocean any harm.

He eventually admitted to detectives that he 'lost control momentarily' and shook her four or five times back and forth. He was previously jailed for 20 months in April 2008 after admitting assault occasioning GBH.

After her health deteriorated, Ocean died on 18 August 2009 at St Thomas' Hospital, London, aged two years and eight months. Curtis was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in November 2009 and, following medical reports and advice, was charged in September 2011.

Detective Chief Inspector Juliet Parker said: "The actions of Curtis that night left a young baby with terrible injuries from which she never recovered.

"Ocean was a healthy and vibrant young baby, but the consequences of the violent shaking left her suffering from severe ill-health for the rest of her young life."

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