Saturday, 6 November 2010

SBS: Simpson, Scotland: infant showed signs of brain injuries, neurosurgeon tells High Court trial

A baby allegedly murdered by an Aberdeen man could have died by being shaken violently, a doctor has testified.
Mark Simpson is accused of attacking his then girlfriend’s daughter, Alexis Matheson, at Deansloch Crescent, Aberdeen, between November 8 and 9, 2007.
The 29-year-old denies murdering the infant by seizing her, shaking her and compressing her chest, injuring her so severely that she died in hospital in Edinburgh on December 10.
Giving evidence at the High Court in Aberdeen yesterday, consultant neurosurgeon Ioannis Fouyas said the most common cause of the kind of injuries Alexis had sustained was the “shearing force generated by shaking of the head”.
The doctor told the court that the baby showed signs of multiple injuries to her brain that had been inflicted at different times.
“My opinion is that Alexis must have had more than one head injury,” he told police. “She must have had a previous head injury too.”
Mr Fouyas agreed with advocate depute Ian McSporran that the most recent injuries could have been a matter of hours old, but said they were more likely to be “a few days old”.
Another collection of haemorrhages that showed up in a brain scan were “a week or 10 days old”.
Mr Fouyas said he realised Alexis was in a “grave condition” after seeing the comatose baby, her brain scan and the reaction of her pupils. He told the court that the victim of such a head injury could suffer symptoms including drowsiness, vomiting and lethargy, all changes that witnesses have described seeing in Alexis in the days leading up to her death.
Dr Gareth Patton told the court that Alexis was dead on arrival to the hospital in Aberdeen but was resuscitated.
“We had a dead baby (on arrival) and we had a baby with a pulse at the end of it,” he said.
Describing the moment that Alexis’s mother, Ilona Sheach, and Simpson were told of the baby’s injuries, staff nurse Jacqueline Rose said the pair showed no emotion.
She said Ms Sheach sat staring at the floor and Mr Simpson sat staring at her.
“Some get very angry, some get upset, but many in my experience show some kind of upset on the delivery of such traumatic news,” said the staff nurse.
Asked by Mr McSporran about the reaction shown by Miss Sheach and Simpson, Ms Rose said: “None whatsoever.”

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