Wednesday, 17 November 2010

SBS: Scotland: Mark Simpson

Alexis Matheson: Died in 2007 Pic: © STV
A baby allegedly murdered by her mother's ex-boyfriend suffered injuries consistent with being shaken with "severe, violent and massive" force, a court heard.
Six-week-old Alexis Matheson - allegedly assaulted and murdered by Mark Simpson - also showed classic signs of fractures at the arc of the ribs associated with squeezing and shaking when her body was examined by experts.
Days before her death, the young baby was taken to her local GP by her teenage mother, Ilona Sheach, due to concerns over red marks in her eyes.
She was visually checked over by the doctor in her pram and diagnosed with sub-conjunctival haemorrhaging, ruptured blood vessels.
Dr Helen Hammond, Consultant Paediatrician, said she associated the haemorrhaging of the eyes with the first time she had been shaken. And she told the court: "I was very disappointed that the child was not properly examined at that time."
Dr Hammond told the court her opinion following examinations of the baby was that she had suffered a "non-accidental head injury by shaking."
Advocate Depute Iain McSporran asked: "Has there ever been an alternative explanation which has caused you to doubt your opinion in this case?"
She replied: "No." Mr McSporran asked: "You have no other possible explanation?" She replied: "No."
The child expert said she relied on various guidance and tests which determines the damage caused to babies injured through shaking incidents.
Past tests concluded that damage is dependent on the speed of the shake and how much the head of a vulnerable baby rotates
Dr Hammond told the High Court in Aberdeen that the shaking required generating the injuries seen in baby Alexis was "severe, violent and massive".
She said previous experts determined that such injuries were said to bear "no resemblance to the trivial jostling that occurs during play such as holding the baby overhead or bouncing it on the knee".
She added: "It would be obvious to the perpetrator and to any witnesses that the baby was severely distressed and in danger, at the end of the assault, the baby is usually described as limp with absent of shallow respirations."
Dr Hammond's report, which was read to the court, said the baby's multiple rib fractures was likely explained by the fact her chest had been compressed while she was shaken.
The report added that the young child presented "type two classical shaken baby syndrome'. The court heard it was clear that some of her injuries were at least 10 days old.
It further stated that all the clinical and radiological features along with her rapid deterioration and death were indicative of inflicted injury.
Baby Alexis was discovered "lifeless" by Mark Simpson and then-girlfriend Ms Sheach at his home. But there was a delay before the baby was taken to hospital.
Dr Hammond told the court: "In Alexis' case, it's felt she was probably hypoxic (suffering a lack of oxygen) for some time before she got to hospital."
Her report said Simpson gave a textbook description of how he resuscitated the young baby. She questioned in the report: "Why did he not get help sooner?"
Alexis died a few hours after she was admitted to hospital. Simpson, of Aberdeen, is on trial accused of assaulting and murdering the baby in December 2007.
He is further accused of breaching bail conditions. He denies both charges. The trial continues.

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