15-week-old boy killed after ‘being shaken in fit of anger’

The High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
The High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
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A man has admitted killing a 15-week old baby boy by shaking him in a fit of anger that caused fatal brain injuries.

Paul Burgess, 25, of Galloway Street, Dumfries, who was originally charged with murder, pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Zaiidyn Burke at 24 Sunderries Avenue, Dumfries, on October 27, 2012.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that while Zaiidyn’s distraught parents, Jade Caven and Lee Burke, were at his bedside, Burgess went to a Hallowe’en party dressed in a costume and then went out drinking.

Baby Zaiidyn died on October 29, 2012 when his parents agreed to take him off a life support system after he had sustained unsurvivable injuries.

The court heard that Burgess was left in charge of the baby for just over an hour while Miss Caven took a four-year-old girl to hospital after she fell and struck her head on a coffee table.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, said “The accused was left to care for the baby.”

The court heard that the accused, who had started a relationship with Miss Caven some weeks after she gave birth to Jaiidyn, had previously looked after the baby without incident.

At 2:20pm he sent Miss Caven a text saying “Long u gni b?xxxxxx”

When she entered the living room ten minutes later Burgess seemed nervous. Zaiidyn was in his bouncy chair.

Mr McSporran said: “The accused indicated a full bottle of milk on a table explaining that the baby had only taken a few mouthfuls. He went on to say the baby had choked a little, but he had patted his back and ‘sorted it’ before putting him in the bouncy chair.”

Miss Caven looked at her son and immediately realised something was far wrong.

His lips and face were turning blue and he appeared completely lifeless.

The baby was taken to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and then transferred to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.

The court was told that a CT scan of the baby’s head and spine at Dumfries showed the type of brain injury caused in baby shaking cases.

A consultant opthalmologist who examined the baby at Yorkhill Hospital confirmed the presence of haemorrhages in the eyes suggestive of a shaken baby.

Mr McSporran told the court: “The Crown accepts that the accused, for some reason as yet unknown, suffered a loss of temper and shook him with sufficient force to cause fatal brain injuries.”

Judge Lord Boyd deferred sentence until next month for background reports and remanded Burgess in custody.