Man jailed for life for shaking his one month old baby to death

James Lawton Credit: Thames Valley Police

A father has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 17 years, after he caused the death of his one month old son in Berkshire.

A High Court judge passed sentence at Reading Crown Court today (Friday 26th November).

The court heard that James Lawton shook his son, Colby, so severely, the one month old suffered more than 50 rib fractures.

The incident took place at an address in Fountain Gardens, Newbury on May 9, 2020.


The address at Fountains Gardens in Newbury. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Police were called to the property by South Central Ambulance Service, following reports that the baby boy was in cardiac arrest.

Colby was taken to hospital for treatment, but later died.

Senior Investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik, of the Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit, said: “Over the last four weeks, the jury have heard how a defenceless baby, just a month old, had sustained the most terrible injuries at the hands of his father James Lawton.

“Colby was assaulted on at least two occasions resulting in horrific injuries; with the final assault of violent shaking just moments before his death on 9 May 2020.

“Lawton denied causing any harm to Colby but the jury have seen through his continued lies and found him guilty today of his murder.

“This investigation has been extremely complex, requiring the assistance of numerous medical experts, a dedicated team of detectives and police staff working with our colleagues from the CPS.

“This has had a profound effect on everyone that has worked on this investigation and I am extremely grateful for their dedication and professionalism.

At the same hearing, Chantelle Stroud, aged 25, of Ashridge Court, Newbury, was found not guilty of one count of causing or allowing the death of a child, and one count of cruelty to a child.