Workington father found guilty of murdering four-month-old son

  • Video report by Barnaby Papadopulos

The father of a baby who died after he was shaken in Workington two years ago has been found guilty of his murder.

Dallas Kelly was four months old when he died.

Reece Kelly, 31, has been found guilty after a two week trial, which saw prosecutors paint a picture of heavy drug use, spiralling debt, and a relationship with Dallas's mother that she once described as "toxic."

Kelly was also found guilty of child cruelty.

His former partner, 23-year-old Georgia Wright, was found not guilty of causing or allowing the death but was convicted of child cruelty.

The child cruelty charge involved both parents failing to take Dallas to medical appointments, failing to seek treatment for previous injuries, and exposing him to illicit drugs.

Four month old Dallas Kelly died on the 19 October 2021, after being shaken by his father four days earlier.

The court heard how an autopsy found that Dallas died from a traumatic brain injury, which the prosecution argued was caused by violent shaking. He also had rib fractures and bleeds behind both eyes.

On the first day of the trial Reece Kelly entered a plea for manslaughter - accepting that he had committed an 'unlawful act' which resulted in the death of his son. In a new defence statement, he said he had shook Dallas 'lightly' when the baby wouldn't settle.

“When he shook Dallas, the defendant held Dallas out in front of him, holding his torso under his arms," the statement said.

"He shook him for seconds only; he didn’t think it was that hard. He didn’t mean to hurt him.”

In his statement, Kelly claimed that Dallas had gone 'floppy' and said he had performed CPR to try and revive him.

Pathologists who examined Dallas told a jury that the injuries sustained were consistent with shaking, and argued that the level of force required to inflict such serious injuries was "considerable."

Georgia Wright outside Carlisle Crown Court.

Both Kelly and Wright were found guilty of child cruelty. The court heard how Dallas missed immunisation appointments, and text messages shown to the Jury sent by both parents detailed a constant search for prescription drugs, notably Tramadol and Pregabalin.

The autopsy conducted on Dallas also showed he had suffered a rib fracture and a brain bleed, both at some point in the weeks prior to the events of 15 October. The defence suggested the brain injury could have been caused by Dallas tipping over his high chair.

Wright told the court of her "pain" when Kelly pleaded guilty to manslaughter. "I couldn't believe he'd spent all that time holding me, and comforting me," she said.

"Promising me he'd never hurt our baby."

She later described Kelly as a "monster."

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