THE family of a five-month-old baby said “justice has been done” last night after his father was jailed for nine years for shaking him to death.
Lee Clark was found guilty of the manslaughter of Charlee Cameron Clark by a ten – two majority at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday.
Mr Justice Coulson said he accepted the 28-year-old did not intend to kill his baby but that he had lost his temper and his actions had resulted in Charlee’s death.
He said: “The circumstances of what happened on February 25, 2011, will only ultimately be known by you but it is quite clear from the evidence that at some point, possibly quite early on in that hour when you were responsible for Charlee, you lost your temper with him.
“We heard evidence Charlee could be sometimes difficult. I am confident he was difficult and you lost your temper with him and you shook him. As a result of the shaking Charlee developed the symptoms of shock and ultimately collapsed and died.”
Charlee died in the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) on March 1, five days after being admitted to hospital with bleeding and swelling to the brain and bleeding behind the eyes.
Clark caused the injuries by shaking his baby while looking after him alone at the family home in Neville Close, Gainford, County Durham.
On sentencing the former Darlington bar manager, Mr Justice Coulson said his good character and no previous relevant convictions had played a part in determining his jail term.
He added: “We have heard evidence you were a good dad and I accept that and I also accept in this case there was no intent to kill Charlee. You just lost your temper.”
Following the verdict, Charlee’s mother Natalie Holmes said: “Words cannot describe the devastation I feel at the loss of my beautiful baby son Charlee.
“It’s now almost two years since Charlee’s death and I cannot say how much we as a family miss him and just how difficult it has been trying to come to terms with out tragic loss.
“Charlee was such a happy, relaxed gorgeous baby boy who was always smiling and we continue to think of him and miss him every day.
“Following the verdict we as a family feel relieved that the truth is out and justice has been done for Charlee. We would now ask that we are left in peace to grieve our loss and begin to try and recover from this.”
Detective Superintendent Adrian Green, of Durham Police, said: “This has been a complex two year investigation into the death of Charlee Clark, a happy and healthy baby, killed at the hands of his father.
“Throughout the course of this investigation Mr Clark has failed to assist the police and in doing so has brought further pain and anguish on his then partner Natalie.
“I hope the verdict has provided the answers the family sought and takes them some way further towards coping with the loss of Charlee.
“I hope the sentence given by the Judge provides the time for Lee to reflect on the damage and hurt he has caused.”
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