Dad guilty of murdering baby daughter who suffered head injuries and rib fractures

A dad has been convicted of murdering his eight-week-old daughter and the baby’s mum has been found guilty of allowing her death.

Tragic Holly Roe suffered fatal head injuries and several rib fractures after being shaken by her father, Michael Roe.

Today jurors at Hove Crown Court found Roe, 33, guilty of murdering his daughter, while his partner Tiffany Tate, 22, was convicted of allowing Holly’s death.

Paramedics arrived at their home in Crowborough, Sussex, to find the baby was not breathing and had no heart activity in the early hours of 10 September 2018.

They had been called to reports she was suffering breathing difficulties.

A post-mortem examination later showed the cause of death was a head injury, and pathologists said they believed this was the result of shaking.

Although Roe denied shaking Holly, evidence from his partner showed that he had no patience with his daughter.

On one occasion he attempted to feed her through her nose with a syringe, prosecutors said.

Less than a week before Holly’s death, she stopped breathing and Roe had to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on her – but he warned his partner not to tell the police after Holly was rushed to hospital.

After guilty verdicts were returned, Libby Clark from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This is an absolutely tragic case involving a tiny, premature baby who had barely any time out of hospital before her death.

“When she was brought home by her parents, she was then subjected to appalling injuries on more than one occasion, the effects of which would have been noticed immediately by anyone caring for Holly.

“Instead, both her mother and father claimed that there was nothing wrong with her prior to her death.

“Evidence from the medical experts in this case showed that Holly’s injuries were consistent with the previous incidents and demonstrated a pattern of behavior by Michael Roe.

“He was alone with his daughter at feeding time, had little patience and a tendency to lose his temper.

“Despite being aware of what had happened previously to her daughter and knowing that Michael Roe was responsible, Tiffany Tate failed to alert the authorities. Instead she chose to expose her daughter to the continued risk that Roe posed.”

The jury was told that the final head injuries would have left Holly unconscious, despite extreme pain caused by her fractured ribs.

The couple are due to be sentenced on Friday.

Detective Superintendent Emma Heater of Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: “Holly Roe was only eight weeks old when she died having been found unconscious at her home address by her parents.

“An examination discovered that Holly had a fatal head injury as well as numerous rib fractures.

“The people who should have been caring for Holly have today been found guilty of offences relating to her death.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “This is a heart-breaking case in which a new-born baby lost her life while in the care of those who had a duty to protect her.

“Babies and young children are completely dependent on those who care for them and we all have a duty to look out for their welfare. Reporting any concerns early could potentially save a child’s life.