Burnley Dad jailed for life for murdering baby son Abel-Jax by violent shaking

  • Video report by Anna Youssef

A father who murdered his newborn baby by violently shaking him with the 'force of a car accident' has been jailed for life and must serve a minimum of 16 years.

Abel-Jax Mailey was just seven-weeks-old when Oliver Mailey inflicted fatal injuries on him at their home in Burnley on 27 November 2021.

The court heard how Mailey shook his newborn son with such force that the child went limp and stopped breathing.

The 26-year-old rang Abel-Jax's mother, Mollie Gorton, and her cousin, before calling an ambulance.

The baby was taken to Blackburn Royal Hospital but later transferred to Manchester Children's Hospital where life support was withdrawn on 30 November.

Soon after, Mailey and Mollie Gorton were arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, and later murder.

Mailey let Abel-Jax's heartbroken mother face investigation, knowing it was his fault their son had collapsed.

On the first day of the trial at Preston Crown Court, he confessed he had shaken Abel-Jax on another occasion, around a week before he died.

Detective Chief Inspector Jane Webb speaking after the sentencing at Preston Crown Court

In her victim impact statement, Abel's mum Mollie Gorton, said: "I just don't know how to put in words what has happened. It does not feel real."

She said her life wasn't perfect but things were looking up with a family, baby and new job.

"I would never have left the house that day if I'd known what would happen.

"Within three minutes of leaving the house everything was gone. When I left the house Abel was fit and well."

Mollie says seeing her baby in hospital and watching him die was awful and she was under the gaze of the police and social services.

"When I was arrested I was scared," she said. "I knew I hadn't done anything but I was a suspect.

"I was the talk of the street for 12 months and couldn't even go to the shop. I got pure anxiety not knowing who I would see. My family is in bits."

Oliver Mailey was jailed for life for the murder of his baby son Abel-Jax Mailey. Credit: Lancashire Police

The judge, Mr Justice Cotter said: "You were specifically warned about the dangers of shaking.

"You were also in a position of trust as a parent. A serious aggravating feature is the serious assault which occurred a week before the fatal shaking.

"What happened on 27th was not an isolated incident. You had already caused at least seven fractures and a bleed on the brain.

"You well knew the police and social services knew Abel was either killed by you or Mollie, so the finger pointed at her. You continued with this lie up to the first day of trial.

"You lied to save your own skin to paramedics, doctors, Mollie and your family, claiming to have saved the child you killed.

"Four weeks before the trial you admitted manslaughter but continued to allow the finger of blame to point at Mollie for the first shaking."

The judge said Mailey must serve at least 16 years before he can apply for parole.

However, it will be a decision for the parole board as to whether he is released. He will remain on licence for the rest of his life.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...