Father guilty of manslaughter of ‘shaken and battered’ six-month-old son

A father has been found guilty of the manslaughter of his six-month-old son who prosecutors said was “shaken and battered” before he died.

David Hollick, 29, denied murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter in connection with the death of baby Kairo Jax Hollick (pictured), who died at Birmingham Children’s Hospital on February 12 2020, days after suffering a non-survivable brain injury.

A jury of 10 women and two men took around 20 hours to find Hollick, of Primley Avenue, Walsall, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by a majority of 11 to one on Monday afternoon.

The trial heard that as well as the brain injury, Kairo had suffered at least two skull fractures and a fracture to his right arm while he was in the care of his father on February 9.

Prosecutor David Mason KC told the court Kairo “had not only been shaken violently, but his head had been bashed at least twice” with a hard object by Hollick.

There was sobs from the public gallery as the verdicts were handed down to Hollick, who sat with his head in his hands.

The trial had heard Hollick’s ex-partner Adina Johnson had dropped their son off at his home as usual on February 7 for the weekend and while Kairo had a cold at the time, she had no other concerns about his health.

Hollick was staying in the conservatory at his parents’ home due to a lack of bedroom space after moving back in with them when his relationship with Ms Johnson ended.

The court heard Hollick phoned Ms Johnson at 4.30am on February 9, but she did not answer because of the time, instead messaging him to say she would call him back later on.

Hollick immediately sent her a message telling her to “ring him back, it’s about Kai”.

The last person to see Kairo alive and well was Hollick’s brother James, who went into the conservatory at around midnight and saw them sleeping.

At around 4.30am, Hollick went into his father’s bedroom in what prosecutors said was a “panicked state”, saying that Kairo was not breathing and that he “didn’t want to lose him”.

Kairo was driven to Walsall Manor Hospital, where Hollick told medical staff he had heard his baby son crying before he stopped breathing and claimed he only shook him to “wake him up”.

During the trial, Hollick told the court he had tripped and fallen while carrying Kairo, which may have caused his injuries.

Scans showed Kairo was suffering from a bleed on the brain and a decision was made to transport him to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, but despite their specialist facilities, nothing could be done to save him.

Kairo was christened before his life support was switched off and he died in his mother’s arms.

Judge Mr Justice Dove thanked the jury for their work during the trial.

Hollick will be sentenced at the same court on March 4.

In a tribute released through West Midlands Police after Hollick’s conviction, Ms Johnson said: “It has been four years since we lost Kairo and our hearts are still as broken as the day he was so cruelly taken from us.

“He deserved to be safe in the care of his father and he deserved to still be here today. We are devastated to learn of the sheer brutality inflicted on Kairo and it will haunt our family for the rest of our days.

“Kai was the light of our lives and the embodiment of innocence and without him we are broken.

“We hope now after all of this time that he can finally rest. We will grieve him forever.

“We would like to send thanks to medical staff at both Walsall Manor Hospital and Birmingham Children’s ICU for caring for Kairo with such dignity and respect in his final days.

“My family and I would also like to thank DC Donna Kenny, our family liaison officer and the entire investigation team for the hard work, constant support and guidance over the past four years. We would also like to thank both prosecuting barristers.

“They have all helped us find some closure in what has been the most tragic of circumstances that any family could imagine.”

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