Thursday, 2 December 2010

SBS: Plymouth, England: Draper jailed for three and a half years

 Father who killed his baby son jailed for three and a half years

A FATHER who killed his baby son has been jailed for three and a half years after admitting a 'moment of madness'.
Graeme Draper, aged 26, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting at Truro Crown Court that he forcibly dropped his four-month-old son Kodi Martin into a baby bouncer on November 1 last year.
Draper, of Beaumont Road, St Judes, denied murdering the baby and the Crown Prosecution Service accepted his guilty plea to the lesser charge.
Kodi was flown by helicopter from Derriford Hospital to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, where he died on November 24, the life support machine having been turned off after three weeks of intensive treatment.
Mr Justice Royce said Kodi suffered from a 'classic shaken baby' injury. He noted how there was an earlier incident, on October 25, when Kodi went stiff and acted 'as though he was not there' when taken out of the bouncer by Draper.
He said: "On November 1, when you were left in charge of the baby for a few minutes while your partner, Tammy Martin, went to a shop, it is apparent you were in a bad temper and, as you ultimately admitted, you had a mad couple of minutes.
"You told the police you had thrown Kodi into a baby bouncer before picking him up again.
"I have to take into account your knowledge of the previous incident.
"In my judgment, that is an aggravating feature in this case", he said.
Apart from a warning for common assault in 2000, Draper was of previous good character.
Mr Justice Royce said: "I accept you are remorseful and you will have to bear the burden of knowing you killed your son for the rest of your life. You did not intend to cause your son really serious harm or to kill him; that is accepted by the prosecution."
In mitigation, Geoffrey Mercer QC said Draper was considered a 'pleasant, friendly polite young man' and this incident was out of character.
He added: "It happened in a few moments of frustration and temper and his remorse is genuine and very deep."
Kodi's mother, Tammy Martin, expressed her anger at both the sentence and how it came about.
She said: "I am extremely angry the Crown Prosecution Service did not inform me the sentencing was going ahead yesterday.
"The three-and-a-half-year sentence will never make up for the loss of Kodi, who we miss very much.
"I would like to thank the police, social workers and other agencies for their support during this difficult last year.
"I wish to be able to try and build a normal life with my other son and move on."
Family friend and former councillor Mark King was with Kodi when he passed away.
"Kodi died in my arms, and to see a very young life pass away for no reason is one of the most difficult, horrible and upsetting things I have ever had to see", he said. "The three-and-half year sentence is an insult to Kodi's short life."
Detective Sergeant Steve Foale, lead investigator in the case, said: "There are only losers in this sentencing today. The mother has lost a son, a brother has lost a playmate and Graeme Draper has lost his liberty.
"This was a detailed and lengthy investigation involving police and social services and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved.
"There were no winners here today but, due to the diligent work of those involved, Draper has been made accountable for his actions.
"Social services and the police will continue to monitor Draper following his release to ensure he will not pose a risk to any other child", he said.
"Hopefully, the Martin family can begin to look to the future."
He said the case highlighted the lethal dangers of losing control when caring for a young baby.
"As a parent myself, I – and I think many other parents – understand and recognise the incredible stresses you can go through when looking after young children.
"While Draper claimed he suffered a 'moment of madness', this case clearly shows what happens when you have such a loss of control and a loss of judgment.
"Whereas many other parents would walk out of the room and return in better control of their emotions, the death of Kodi Martin highlights the tragic result when you lose such control of yourself while in the care of a vulnerable and fragile baby."

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