An eight-week old baby was killed by one of her parents after suffering several brain injuries and broken ribs, a court has heard.


Tiffany Tate, 22, and her partner Michael Roe, 33, are both accused of murdering their daughter Holly Roe at their home in Crowborough, East Sussex, UK.


The parents, who deny they committed murder, are also each charged with allowing the other to kill their daughter.


Jurors at Lewes Crown Court in Hove were reportedly told they must decide which parent murdered the baby.


The court heard that Holly Roe suffered brain injuries on at least three occasions and 11 fractures to her ribs before paramedics found her cold and unresponsive.


Sally Howes QC for the Crown said: “This is consistent with the brain being rattled around.

“This was a perfectly healthy baby who finally, catastrophically and fatally collapses.”


During a night feed, Michael Roe told a health visitor his partner felt like throwing Holly against the wall, an allegation which Ms Tate agreed in court that she said.


Ms Tate also admitted struggling to bond with her baby in the first few weeks of her life.


“When the baby cried, she became frustrated and panicked,” Ms Howes said.


Michael Roe also told a health visitor he took over night feeding most times as Tate had no patience with baby Holly.

Ms Howes also stated that Michael Roe was the last to see Holly alive.

Ms Howes said the position of the prosecution was that “the strength of the evidence suggests it’s Michael Roe who is responsible”.


Ms Howes added: “There is also evidence for you to consider Tiffany Tate had the opportunity for that unlawful act.”


After the couple reported she was not breathing, in the early hours of Monday, September 10, 2018, emergency services were called to the house


Holly was found to be cold, not breathing and with no heart activity at all, Ms Howes said.


Paramedics battled to save her before she was taken to Pembury Hospital in Tunbridge Wells where she was pronounced dead.

Port mortem examinations showed a first brain injury which happened a few weeks before her death, while the second several days before and the final brain injury within 48 hours, Ms Howes said.


“The pattern of injuries showed they were the result of non-accidental and abusive head trauma” consultant neuropathologist Prof Safa Al-Sarrau said.


Forensic Pathologist Dr Charlotte Randall said the baby’s death was due to head injury with authorities concluding that the likely mechanism of Holly’s injuries would have been violent shaking.

The multiple fracture injuries found on Holly’s ribcage were also often associated with shaking-type head injury, Ms Howes said.

Ms Howes said: “Dr Cleghorn considers the most likely cause of the rib fractures to be an inflicted injury, most likely excessive squeezing around her chest and, in conjunction with the opinions about the traumatic brain injury would support there having been a shaking episode.”

-Sharon O.

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