Court told baby died from ‘appalling catalogue of injuries’, as trial of father accused of murder begins

A father is on trial accused of murdering his three-month-old daughter who sustained an “appalling catalogue of inflicted injuries”, a court heard.

Christopher Easey (pictured), 31, told a 999 call handler that baby Eleanor was “struggling to breathe” at their home in Morton on the Hill in Norfolk, prosecutor Sally Howes QC said.

An ambulance crew arrived “within minutes” on December 18, 2019 and found Eleanor to be “very pale, floppy, eyes half open”, the barrister said.

She was taken to hospital, first in Norwich then transferred to Cambridge, but died on December 20, 2019 having sustained a “brain injury that was incompatible with life”.

Subsequent post-mortem examinations “demonstrated older head and neurological injuries”, 31 rib fractures and five sites of fracture on her limbs, Ms Howes told jurors at Norwich Crown Court.

“This baby died as a result of an inflicted, non-accidental injury,” she said, adding that the examinations indicated “some form of shaking with an impact to the head”.

“It’s the prosecution case that she was murdered by her father Christopher Easey,” she said.

“Her mother (Carly) is charged with allowing the death of a child in that she failed to protect this vulnerable young infant from foreseeable risk of serious physical harm.”

Carly Easey, 36, and her husband, both of Old Roman Bank, Terrington St Clement, Norfolk, are both charged with cruelty to a child.

Ms Howes said Eleanor sustained “not only this appalling catalogue of inflicted injuries but was described… as being a poorly-nourished infant”.

She said Eleanor had been “dangerously inappropriately fed”.

Christopher Easey told police he thought Eleanor’s injury arose from when he performed an emergency brake as he drove back from dropping his wife at work for a shift at a pub.

“He said a car pulled out in front of him which caused him to brake suddenly from 50mph down to 5mph,” Ms Howes said.

“He heard a squeal from Eleanor.

“As soon as he was able to do so, he pulled over on the side of the road to check her.

“She seemed unharmed, he then drove straight home.”

Ms Howes said he told police: “He thought the injury to Eleanor was caused by this braking manoeuvre.”

He said he found Eleanor “slumped forwards in her bouncy chair” later that evening and called an ambulance, Ms Howes said.

A paramedic said cattle stockman Christopher Easey “talked throughout the journey (to hospital) about his job and how he had performed CPR on cows but not on a person… he might have been a bit heavy-handed doing CPR on the baby”, Ms Howes said.

She said the couple met in 2016 on dating website Muddy Matches, which is “used extensively by the farming and rural community”.

At the time Carly Easey was a yard assistant at a stables and Christopher Easey was a pig stockman, Ms Howes said, and they married in 2018.

Carly Easey miscarried that year.

She later became pregnant again but was “unwilling to acknowledge her condition and appeared to be in denial, though it must have been obvious to her she was indeed pregnant”, Ms Howes said.

Eleanor was born on September 12, 2019 in hospital in King’s Lynn, with Christopher Easey taking his wife there.

Carly Easey “did say she did not feel ready for a baby”, Ms Howes said.

She said the case was referred to safeguarding as a “concealed pregnancy”, adding: “A concealed pregnancy is when a woman knows or suspects she is pregnant but doesn’t inform any health professional.”

Ms Howes said Carly Easey “appeared to be anxious about change with the demands of being a parent”.

Carly Easey was treated in the intensive care unit after the birth, Ms Howes said.

Christopher Easey “appeared to be somewhat delusional, telling one midwife he was a vet and comparing his job to hers”, Ms Howes said.

Carly Easey denies causing or allowing the death of a child and cruelty to a child.

Christopher Easey denies murder and cruelty to a child.

The trial, which could last up to six weeks, continues.

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