Father who killed two-month-old baby with 'devastating' injury jailed

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2 min read
Anton Shields was given nine years in prison. (PA/Derbyshire Police)
Anton Shields was given nine years in prison. (PA/Derbyshire Police)

A father who killed his two-month-old baby with a “devastating” head injury has been jailed.

Anton Shields, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his son Cody, described in court as “healthy and happy”, earlier in October.

The infant died in hospital two days after paramedics were called to home in Bamford, Derbyshire, in June 2019.

Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said Shields was meant to be caring for the boy when Cody suffered the “devastating” injury.

He said that, with Shields “unable to settle him, the defendant became frustrated with Cody and assaulted him, causing fatal head injuries”.

Shields’ defence, Nicholas Clarke QC, said the 39-year-old, who appeared in court with a face mask and Puma tracksuit top, had anxiety and depression, lost his temper and viewed what happened as “inexplicable”.

General view of Derby Crown Court, Derby.
Shields was sentenced at Derby Crown Court. (PA)

Derby Crown Court heard Shields had at first claimed Cody suffered a “spontaneous collapse” while feeding, then later said he had found him struggling to breathe after leaving him on his own.

Accepting Shields had not meant to kill or cause serious harm, Justice Andrew Baker said: “You did a horribly dangerous thing that had a terrible consequence.”

Sentencing him to nine years in prison, the judge said the boy was violently shaken and suffered an impact on a “semi-yielding” surface.

“You, Anton Shields, did violence to him that killed him… when he was alone in your care for a brief period,” the judge said.

“He was unsettled and did not feed properly, probably in response to his vaccinations that morning.”

In a victim statement, Cody’s mother spoke of the pain felt by the family.

“In her words, losing Cody ripped her life apart and devastated her whole family.

“You did not have the courage to admit what happened until the day before you were due to stand trial.

“You have never given an open and honest account, as you sought to avoid the responsibility for Cody’s death that is yours and yours alone.”

He added that the family was still “haunted” by the death and said: “The court can only wish her and her family well and hope that their pain will ease.”

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