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Midhurst man convicted of causing death of his baby son

News   •   Mar 18, 2019 16:36 GMT

A Midhurst man has been convicted of causing the death of his baby son.

Christopher Barnes, 28, a heating engineer, of Barlavington Way, Midhurst, was convicted by the majority verdict of a jury at Lewes Crown Court on Monday (18 March) after a ten-day trial, of manslaughter, and of causing grievous bodily harm, to his son, Harry, who was just 10 weeks old when he died in June 2017.

Harry died on 25 June 2017 at Southampton Hospital, following admission from his home address in Barlavington Way, Midhurst, on the previous day.

The prosecution followed an investigation by detectives from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, and detailed forensic examination which established that death had resulted from an internal head injury.

Detective Chief Inspector Emma Heater said; "This has been a tragic case, investigating the death of a child is upsetting for everyone involved, but especially the family of the loved one.

"At some time on 24 June, Harry collapsed. His heart stopped beating and he stopped breathing. He had suffered profound injury to his brain. He never regained consciousness and died the next day after life support was withdrawn.

“Our investigation, with evidence from expert forensic pathologists, showed that Harry had sustained multiple injuries consistent with 'baby shaking'.

“The evidence was clear that Christopher Barnes had become frustrated with Harry and had caused his injuries. Harry should have been safe with his father, whose duty it was to love and protect his child. Christopher Barnes’s actions have had a devastating effect on Harry’s entire family.”

"I would urge anyone who is struggling to cope with a new born baby to reach out for help."

Harry's mother Laura Millins, said: "We now have justice for Harry after going through something so traumatic that has changed our lives forever. As we approach what would have been Harry's 2nd birthday we finally have the truth. Harry will always be in our hearts."

Christopher Barnes was given court bail and will be sentenced on Friday (22 March)

A Serious Case Review is being carried out by the independent West Sussex Safeguarding Childrens' Board.

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Newsdesk Guidance; 

Ref: SXP 54356/2019
Author: Tim Mahony

A police custody photo of Barnes will be released after he is sentenced on Friday.

Harry's mother (confirmed spelling Millins) does not wish to speak to, or to be approached by, the media.