Father Christopher Easey jailed after being convicted of killing 14-week-old baby daughter

The father of a 14-week-old baby girl who died after sustaining "catastrophic" head injuries has been jailed for 14 years for her manslaughter.

Christopher Easey, 31, had claimed his daughter Eleanor suffered the fatal injuries when he was forced to slam on the brakes in his car, but police found no evidence that an emergency stop had taken place.

Easey, from Little Thetford near Ely in Cambridgeshire, had denied murder, but was found guilty of manslaughter and child cruelty by a jury last month following a 10-week trial at Norwich Crown Court.

The child's mother, Carly Easey, 36, was convicted of one count of child cruelty.

Baby Eleanor was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on 18 December 2019 after being found unresponsive at the couple's then home in Morton-on-the-Hill, just west of Norwich.

A CT scan showed a significant head injury and recent bleeding between her skull and brain.

She was later transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and died on 20 December 2019.

Sentencing took place at Norwich Crown Court. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Doctors confirmed she had suffered a "catastrophic" brain injury which experts believe could have been caused by shaking or an impact to the head.

During the trial, the court heard how Eleanor had suffered bleeds to her brain on three separate occasions and had 31 fractures to her tiny body when she passed away.

Those injuries included multiple historical rib fractures and retinal haemorrhages, and she was also malnourished.

Police had been told by people who knew the couple that Easey and Eleanor's mother Carly had fed their baby custard cream biscuits and lemon cheesecake, gave her squash to drink, and left her home alone.

At sentencing at Norwich Crown Court on Friday, the prosecution told the court there was "precious little" any doctor could have done to save her.

Christopher Easey and Carly Easey. Credit: Facebook

"Abused his position of trust"

Easey was sentenced to 14 years in prison for manslaughter and one year for child cruelty, and both sentences will run concurrently.

His co-defendant, Carly Easey, was given a 12-month community order for child cruelty with requirements to take part in a specified programme of activities.

The judge, the honourable Mr Justice Edward Murray, said that he was "sure" that Christopher Easey had inflicted all of Eleanor's injuries and had "abused his position of trust".

The honourable Mr Justice Murray added that the fatal brain injury Eleanor sustained was "consistent with having been violently shaken."

He also noted that both Christoper Easey and Carly Easey had shown "deliberate disregard" for Eleanor's welfare.

Elizabeth Marsh QC, mitigating for Carly Easey, said Eleanor "was killed through no action or inaction" by her mother.

"She feels extremely guilty for failing to protect her baby from the man who deceived her," she said.

"Died at the hands of the very man who should have taken care of her"

Carly Easey leaving Norwich Crown Court. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Christoper Easey was described by Sally O'Neill QC, who was mitigating for him, as a "very inexperienced father" and said he would "carry to his grave... the knowledge what he did caused the injuries to his baby daughter".

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Lewis Craske, who led the investigation on behalf of the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, said: “Christopher Easey has been found guilty of killing his baby daughter and it is the awful truth that she died at the hands of the very man who should have taken care of her; someone who should have cared for her and shown unconditional love.

"Sadly, that wasn’t the case and little Eleanor was neglected for much if not all her very short life.

“Finding out what happened in that family during Eleanor’s life and on that terrible evening in December 2019 has always been our priority. I know we did that and presented our findings. This was a very emotive investigation, and the memories of it will remain with us for quite some time.”

A spokesperson for the NSPCC added that it is "vital" that lessons are learnt, so that another child doesn't have to suffer in the same manner in the future.

“Baby Eleanor’s parents had a responsibility to care for and protect their child, but in her short life she was neglected by her mother and subjected to cruelty by her father. Ultimately, Christopher Easey inflicted such catastrophic injuries upon her they caused her death," a statement read.

“We know that it is the youngest children who are the most vulnerable to abuse and neglect, because they are completely dependent on adults for their care and unable to voice their needs or seek support. It is vital that the lessons from the Child Safeguarding Practice Review are fully taken on board to try and ensure another child does not suffer in this way again.”