Baby girl died after father subjected her to ‘catalogue of escalating violence’

A father killed his helpless baby daughter after subjecting her to a “catalogue of escalating violence”, a court has heard.

Trainee plumber Kevin Eves, 37, allegedly caused multiple fractures to eight-week old baby Harper Denton in the weeks before she collapsed at the family home on June 12 last year.

Opening his Old Bailey (pictured) murder trial, Sally Howes QC told how Eves had met the child’s mother Cherinea Denton, 34 via the internet two years before Harper was born.

Shortly after 6am on June 12 last year, the court heard, Ms Denton called 999 and told the operator: “My baby’s not breathing.

“Her dad’s just brought her down and said she’s not breathing.”

Harper was rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead at 6.37am, the court heard.

Post-mortem examination of Harper identified 34 rib fractures, 11 classic metaphyseal fractures or lesions, two fractured metatarsal bones, one in each foot, and a skull fracture.

There was also bruising, mostly beneath the scalp and the skin of the face, and damage around Harper’s mouth, the court heard.

Bleeding in the retinas of both eyes were found to be inflicted at least 48 hours before Harper’s death.

Harper’s injuries ranged from three weeks to close to the time of death, jurors heard.

Ms Howes said: “These injuries, and the time period during which they were inflicted, tell the tale of a totally dependent, vulnerable, helpless baby girl who was subjected to a catalogue of escalating violence which only came to an end with her untimely death.

“It is the Crown’s case that the person responsible for the injuries inflicted upon, and ultimately, the death of Harper is Kevin Eves, her own father.”

Eves, Nightingale Court, Wixams, near Bedford, has denied murder and grievous bodily with intent.

The court heard how Eves, formerly known as Forbes, moved in with Ms Denton in 2016.

Ms Denton allegedly said: “It sort of happened in the blink of an eye during February 2016, we never talked about it, it just sort of happened”.

By the time of Harper’s birth, the relationship had broken down and they lived separate lives, jurors heard.

Ms Howes said Ms Denton was aware that Eves had a previous conviction from 2006 when he was sentenced to nine years in jail.

On the evening before Harper died, Ms Denton fell asleep on the sofa and Eves put the baby in a Moses basket in the main bedroom, jurors heard.

According to the defendant,? Eves fed Harper at 1am then woke at 6am to find her looking “purple” and cold to the touch, jurors heard.

On learning that Harper had been pronounced dead in hospital, he allegedly sobbed: “She’s going to blame me, she’s going to blame me.”

In a police interview, Eves said he and Ms Denton shared the care of Harper “50-50” and no-one else had unsupervised contact with their child, nicknamed Pug.

He told officers he believed the injuries to Harper’s chest were from resuscitation attempts and he did not know how other injuries were caused.

He allegedly told her that it was for his part in a fight at a house party and she accepted his account – when in reality it was for another offence, the prosecutor said.

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