Doctor tells court how he suspected baby's injuries may have been caused by shaking

Darlington and Stockton Times: IN COURT: Lee Clark IN COURT: Lee Clark

A DOCTOR raised the alarm after discovering injuries to a five-month-old baby were possibly caused by shaking, a court heard.

Dr Malik Alam, a consultant paediatrician at Darlington Memorial Hospital, informed the police and social services after tests revealed Charlee Cameron Clark was suffering from serious bleeding to his brain.

He told the youngster's parents, Lee Clark and Natalie Holmes, of his opinion and it was then Mr Clark said: "I have not shaken the baby."

Charlee died on March 1, 2011, five days after becoming seriously ill and being rushed to hospital.

Mr Clark, 28, denies the manslaughter of his son at their home in Neville Close, Gainford, County Durham.

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard today that head scans had revealed significant bleeding.

Dr Alam said he told Charlee's parents: "Sometimes it can be down to a rare metabolic disorder but I am worried about shaking as the most possible cause."

The doctor, who appeared via video link, added it was then Mr Clark demonstrated how he often bounced his son on his knee.

He added: " I noticed a high pitch cry at the time (of examination). I think he was pale and he had abnormal movements to his limbs. I noticed a bruise on each of his limbs.

"I asked the mother and she said she had not noticed them before and that she did not know where they were from."

Earlier on February 25, shortly after Charlee had been admitted, Mr Clark asked nurse Carly Wilkinson if his son's injuries could have been caused by shaking.

Tests were being carried out to identify any infection.

Mrs Wilkinson said: "At the time they (the doctors) suspected meningitis due to the marks on his legs and the colour he presented.

"He (Mr Clark) asked if these injuries could have been caused by shaking a baby. He went on to say he had been bouncing Charlee on his knee that day and perhaps that could explain it.

"He said Charlee seemed to be enjoying it."

She added: "I thought the comment was unusual."

In addition to internal injuries, Charlee was found to have bruises on both knees, which Andrew Robertson QC, said are "highly suggestive of grip marks".

Miss Holmes had left Mr Clark caring for Charlee on the morning he fell ill while she went to Darlington to buy new clothes for her son's christening, which was planned for two days later.

When she left she said he was his "normal happy self". However, Mr Clark told her that while she was out Charlee refused his bottle, started making a "groaning noise." and he had become unresponsive.

Miss Holmes initially put it down to the youngster missing her but soon realised something was seriously wrong.

Once doctors discovered Charlee was suffering from bleeding of the brain, together with severe swelling and bleeding behind the eyes, they had him transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, for specialist treatment.

The trial continues.

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