Father denies fabricating 'nonsense' chain of events to cover up allegedly shaking baby daughter to death

A father has denied fabricating a "nonsense" chain of accidents to try to cover up allegedly shaking his 14-month-old daughter to death in a violent temper.

Ashurst only gave details of one accident to a doctor and four paramedics. Picture: John Devlin

Hollie Ashurst sustained multiple areas of bruising and abrasions to the head and neck area, bleeding on the brain and in the eyes, a broken ankle and two possible bite marks to her hand and thigh.

Daniel Ashurst, 33, denies murder and claims a series of unfortunate accidents happened to his daughter within an hour of him running into a GP's surgery with the limp child in his arms.

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He says Hollie firstly fell off the bed at the family home in Shevington, Wigan, on February 28 after he left her for a "split second" to go to the bathroom.

Then he popped outside to move a bin from his driveway and on his return found her two steps down from the top of the stairs "shaking from head to toe", Manchester Crown Court heard.

He said he picked her up to rush her to hospital but the left pocket of his shorts snagged something on the way down and he slipped and lost grip of Hollie, who landed at the bottom of the staircase.

During the car journey that followed, he braked "heavily" at a set of traffic lights and Hollie came "flying" out of her car seat, Ashurst says.

He said he had strapped his daughter into her car seat but said it may not have "fastened totally".

Ashurst only mentioned the two-step fall to a doctor and four paramedics after he diverted from the hospital to the nearby Standish Medical Practice.

Ashurst says he did not believe any of the other alleged accidents caused injury to his daughter.

He told the jury: "I was so confused maybe, I was panicked at what was going on. I never felt I had any direct contact with anyone to go through a list of events.

"In my mind it was the fact I had found her at the top of the stairs and she looked awful, and that is why I took her to hospital."

Guy Gozem QC, cross-examining, asked why would he not want to give the fullest possible history to professionals wanting to save his daughter's life.

Ashurst replied: "I can't answer that question."

Mr Gozem said: "The answer is you had not thought of this nonsense that you are now telling the jury."

Ashurst said: "All I can tell is the total truth of what had happened and that is the truth."

Mr Gozem went on: "I am going to suggest to you, in circumstances you have not revealed to us, that you lost your temper and in frustration shook Hollie and inflicted those injuries on her."

The defendant said: "I would absolutely never hurt Hollie. I have done nothing but adore her, love her and look after her. I certainly did not hurt or harm Hollie."

The court previously heard that Ashurst was on medication for anxiety and depression.

He said he drank alcohol - three or four cans of lager nightly - and used cocaine two or three times a week to help him relax.

Ashurst used cocaine on the evening before the fatal injuries were said to have happened, the court was told, but he said it had no effect on him the next day after "a good night's sleep".

The trial continues.