Man jailed for life for killing baby son

LONDON (Reuters) - A man was jailed for life on Thursday for murdering his three-month-old son whom he squeezed and then dropped after he lost his temper with him.

Craig Goddard, 24, who had admitted murder, was told he would serve a minimum term of 11 years for killing his son Alfie, the Press Association reported.

The baby, who came from the Toll Bar area of Doncaster, died in hospital in May last year after suffering head injuries consistent with “squeezing by vigorous shaking followed by the child impacting on the floor,” Sheffield Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Simon Jackson said Goddard had told police he had a problem controlling his temper.

However, he gave officers various explanations for the death before admitting that he had meant to hurt the baby.

Jackson said Goddard had claimed to have been in a bad mood all day and was frustrated when his son would not settle.

“He rocked him too hard and too fast and squeezed him too hard because of the pain he felt in his head. He dropped Alfie in shock when he realised how hard he was squeezing,” Jackson told the court.

“He dropped Alfie to the floor intending to cause him really serious harm.”

The boy’s mother, Lindsay Harris, 19, had maintained in six police interviews that she had found Alfie at the bottom of the stairs. But she later admitted perverting the course of justice.

“She lied to protect Goddard from the possible consequences of his actions,” Jackson said.

She was given a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years.

On Monday, it was revealed that the government had ordered an independent review into children’s services at Doncaster Council following the deaths of seven children in the area in recent years.

It also came after Ofsted inspectors rated its department as inadequate, and among the worst in the country.

However, Goddard’s lawyer Peter Kelson told the court social services could have done nothing to prevent the death of Alfie.

“This is a case without a headline because this is not a tragedy that could have been anticipated with the best intentions of social services or anybody else,” he said.

“It was a case of a parent doing the best he could, losing his temper at a difficult time. He was so horrified he dropped the baby, not out of spite or hatred but out of horror of what had occurred.”

Reporting by Michael Holden