1. ITV Report

Mother and ex-partner jailed for 10 years over death of three-week-old baby

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

A mother and ex-partner have been jailed for 10 years each for being responsible for the "brutal" death of her three-week-old son.

Roxanne Davis, 30, of Gosport, Hampshire, and ex-partner Samuel Davies, 24, of Southampton, were convicted by a jury at Winchester Crown Court of causing or allowing the death of Stanley Davis.

The trial heard that the baby died of a skull fracture and brain haemorrhage at just 24-days-old on March 28, 2017.

He had also suffered 32 fractures to his ribs and nine fractures to his arms and legs sustained during at least three separate occasions.

Samuel Davies and Roxanne Davis were jailed for 10 years each Credit: Hampshire Constabulary/PA

Sentencing the pair, judge Jane Miller QC said that the baby suffered a “brutal” attack in which he was violently shaken and could have been thrown across a room.

She said: “Stanley was in pain for much of his short life.

“The medical evidence is he would have cried inconsolably for 10 to 30 minutes, which means both of you would have been aware of his distress because the flat was so tiny. One of you may have been absent when one of the sets of injuries was inflicted, but not all.”

Davis sobbed during the hearing and as she was taken down to the cells, she shouted out: “He’s a murderer.”

The judge told her: “Much of your upset is self-serving crocodile tears. Your upset was more about you rather than Stanley.”

She added: “You were delighted to show him off to family and friends, but when you were back at home and he wasn’t a fashion accessory, you were happy to hand him over to your partner.”

The court heard that the former couple, who are not married but share similar surnames, had a fractious relationship, with the police being called to the property on March 11 by neighbours who reported shouting coming from the one-bedroom flat they shared in Gosport.

Seventeen days before Stanley died, police responded to calls from neighbours concerned by screaming and shouting they heard coming from the flat Davis and Davies were in.

Police bodycam footage shows an aggressive Davies swearing at the officers and refusing to calm down despite repeated requests from the police and Davis to lower his voice.

He told police he had been arguing with a friend over money.

He eventually storms out of the flat at which point Davis allows the officers in to inspect the flat. Finding nothing suspicious, the officers leave.

Both defendants were tested positive for taking cocaine and cannabis after they were arrested following Stanley’s hospitalisation.

The first sign that Stanley had suffered any harm was when a health visitor found a bruise behind his right ear on March 16 which the couple had tried to conceal but which was later misdiagnosed by a paediatrician as a birthmark.

James Newton-Price QC, prosecuting, said: “They were very clearly warned about the risk of harm to the baby by the police and the social worker when they warned them they couldn’t behave in an argumentative or volatile way.”

Katie Thorne QC, defending Davis, said that she suffered from depression and added: “Miss Davis’ case has always been that she didn’t cause the injuries. Miss Davis did accept her strong feelings of guilt in failing to protect Stanley.”

Sally Howes QC, defending Davies, who was not the biological father, said he had “a great sadness and a great feeling of guilt”.

She added: “He is clearly a very immature man and his diagnoses of ADHD and emotionally unstable personality disorder are recent and will have to be addressed at a later stage.”

Derek Benson, chairman of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board, has confirmed that a review is being carried out of the handling of the child’s care by the authorities, looking into whether opportunities were missed which could have prevented Stanley's death.

The review, begun on Friday, is taking place because both police and health visitors knew the couple and had been to the flat, and a GP had also seen the baby.

However, the judge said the couple had colluded with each other over the extent of Stanley's injuries.

Speaking outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Fiona Bitters from Hampshire Police said officers had carried out a "meticulous" investigation.

She said: "We haven't been able to charge with murder. Many people feel that should have been the case, but we are guided by the law and I think we've charged them with the right offence and in terms of the maximum sentence for that this reflects the series nature and the tragedy of this case."