In England, 22-year-old Jordan Saxton has been sentenced to nine years in prison for shaking his son so violently that he died. In November 2014, the young father fractured 18 bones in his 11-week-old baby and caused catastrophic brain injury. The Daily Mail reports that a jury at Oxford Crown Court unanimously convicted him of manslaughter after a 10-day trial and six-hours of deliberation.
During the trial, medics told the jury that Jayden Saxton suffered injuries that required “considerable force,” similar to that of a serious car crash. However, Saxton maintained his innocence and claimed that he started pounding on his son’s chest because he was choking on his food.
Prosecutor Paul Dunkels explained to the jury how Jayden died and even provided 16 pictures of the baby’s injuries. He said, “The defendant was looking after Jayden on his own when his mother went to her father’s house in Kennington, Oxon. She left at about 4.30pm on November 16. When she left there was no bruising and Jayden was behaving normally. The events must have happened after she left and Jayden was in the defendant’s care. A clear picture emerged that he had been subjected to a violent assault.”
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He continued, “There was bleeding on the skull and bleeding in the eyes which is suggestive of him having been shaken. The brain injuries were so severe that nothing could have been done to save him. Medical examinations established he was a healthy baby and had no underlying medical condition which caused the bruising or injuries.”
The defense argued that Saxton had no previous history of being violent toward Jayden; in fact, defense attorney Michael Wood said the infant’s mother, Tracy, was the one who more likely to get irritated with her son. He explained, “It would be quite wrong of me to accuse Jayden’s mother Tracy of causing any injury despite her being the one, she agreed, who would be more likely to get irritated. During the trial, it came to light that Tracy considered aborting Jayden but changed her mind after seeing an eight-week scan.
Dunkels said the following to Saxton after the verdict was read: “You thought you could explain away his (Jayden’s) collapse by saying he was suddenly choking on something, but you know now that he hadn’t choked, he had been assaulted. The inescapable truth Mr. Saxton, on all the evidence, is that it must have been you. No doubt in an act of frustration with him because he would not settle, you gripped him forcibly around the chest and shook him.”
The prosecuting judge, Rabinder Singh, asked the jury to take a “cool” and “unemotional” approach in reaching a verdict, but the physical evidence proved that Saxton was lying about his son’s death. Justice Singh concluded, “A doctor has given evidence that considerable force would be needed to fracture an 11-week-old baby. Their ribs are strong. To break them would take a road accident or falling on concrete. It is a force similar to that of a high speed car crash.”