Sussex dad convicted of killing tiny baby son by violently shaking him

Barnes' son Harry died at just 10 weeks old
Barnes' son Harry died at just 10 weeks old

A dad who shook his baby son Harry so hard he was left with brain damage and later died has been convicted of manslaughter.

Harry Barnes was just 10 weeks old when he was rushed to St Richard's Hospital in Chichester in June 2017.

Barnes has been appearing at Lewes Crown Court for trial

Barnes has been appearing at Lewes Crown Court for trial

However despite doctors best efforts, Harry died the following day.

Now a jury has convicted Harry's dad Christopher of manslaughter after a week and half-long trial by majority verdict.

He was also found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm to Harry, also by majority verdict.

Barnes, 28, of Barlavington Way, Midhurst, had claimed he was not responsible for what happened to Harry.

We now have justice for Harry'

Harry's mum Laura Millins and others were seen in tears after the jury verdicts were read out in court this afternoon.

In an emotional statement, she said: "We now have justice for Harry after going through something so traumatic that has changed our lives forever.

"As we approach what would have been Harry's 2nd birthday we finally have the truth.

"Harry will always be in our hearts."

'His heart stopped beating and he stopped breathing'

Barnes, a heating engineer, had been alone with baby Harry when he collapsed, his trial at Lewes Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Jennifer Knight said earlier in the trial: “Sometime before 12.37pm on 24th June 2017, 10 week old Harry Barnes collapsed.

“His heart stopped beating and he stopped breathing.

“He never regained consciousness and he died the next day when life support was withdrawn.

“The medical evidence revealed that Harry Barnes’ injuries had been caused during at least two episodes of injury, one around the time of his collapse and another several days earlier.

“It is the crown’s case that this defendant Christopher Barnes, Harry Barnes’ father, who was alone with him at the time of his collapse is responsible for his death and also for the injuries that had been caused to him.”

'I never hurt that little boy. He meant the world to me'

Speaking from the witness box during his trial, Barnes told the jury: “Most of the time I spend with him when I got home from work was when [Harry] was crying.”

Prosecutor Miss Knight asked him: “Isn’t the reality of it that you know perfectly well that you are responsible for what happened to Harry?”

Barnes said: “I am not responsible for what happened to Harry.”

Miss Knight said: “You are not brave enough to admit what you did to Harry, are you?”

Barnes replied: “It wasn’t me. I never hurt that little boy. He meant the world to me.

“I did what I thought was best for Harry which was that I swayed and comforted him.”

Jury decision

The jury was sent out on Friday morning to consider its verdict.

Resuming their deliberations today, jurors announced their decision just after 4pm this afternoon.

Barnes was convicted of both counts on the indictment by majority verdict: manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm.

He is due to be sentenced on Friday.

DCI Heater: The evidence against Barnes was clear

Detective Chief Inspector Emma Heater said; "This has been a tragic case, investigating the death of a child is upsetting for everyone involved, but especially the family of the loved one.

"At some time on 24 June, Harry collapsed. His heart stopped beating and he stopped breathing. He had suffered profound injury to his brain. He never regained consciousness and died the next day after life support was withdrawn.

“Our investigation, with evidence from expert forensic pathologists, showed that Harry had sustained multiple injuries consistent with 'baby shaking'.

“The evidence was clear that Christopher Barnes had become frustrated with Harry and had caused his injuries. Harry should have been safe with his father, whose duty it was to love and protect his child. Christopher Barnes’s actions have had a devastating effect on Harry’s entire family.”

"I would urge anyone who is struggling to cope with a new born baby to reach out for help."