A city worker accused of shaking her newborn daughter to death told doctors she had ‘no idea’ what had made her so unwell, a court heard.
Clare Sanders, 44, and her lover Tomas Vaitkevicius, 45, are alleged to have shaken four-week-old Eva on three separate occasions before she died in September 2017.
The Old Bailey has heard that Sanders used her mobile to search for ‘Shaken baby syndrome NHS’, ‘Shaking babies’ and ‘baby is shaking’ on August 27 – six days before her death.
Jurors were told one of Sanders’ neighbours called 999 in the early hours of September 1 after the financial consultant hammered on her door screaming ‘my baby, my baby’. Eva was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead shortly before 7am the following morning
A post-mortem examination later gave the cause of death as ‘traumatic brain and spinal cord injury’.
Giving evidence on Wednesday, the doctor who examined the infant in hospital told the court he believed they were ‘caused by some sort of force’.
Sanders and Vaitkevicius, from Mitcham in south London, both deny murder and an alternative count of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable child.
Dr Nick Prince told jurors the parents seemed upset, and Sanders began ‘asking lots of questions’ when he spoke to them at the hospital.
Prosecutor Tom Little QC asked: ‘This type of bleeding would generally be consistent with what type of injury?’
The doctor said: ‘I think it would be most consistent with a traumatic injury because there is bleeding in multiple compartments of the brain. A traumatic event, caused by some sort of force.’
Mr Little went on: ‘In relation to the history you had been given by the family, was there any account or report of any traumatic event?’
Dr Prince replied: ‘There was not, no. There was a report of some sort of shaking episode some days prior, but certainly we didn’t have a story that would explain the blood from a traumatic event.
‘My memory and also referring back to my notes, I remember Thomas being very quiet, looking down a lot. I did take care to check he understood my English well, which he confirmed, but quiet, withdrawn and mostly looking downwards.
‘Claire being understandably and visibly upset and stressed, asking lots of questions but also showing that she understood the seriousness of the situation in terms of Eva’s healthcare position.’
Sally O’Neill QC, defending Sanders, said both parents were ‘visibly upset and tearful throughout the meeting’, adding: ‘She (Sanders) said she had no idea what had made her (Eva) so ill.’
Forensic pathologist Dr Virginia Fitzpatrick-Swallow said there was evidence of a ‘gripping’ injury, which jurors were told rarely arises from ‘accidental’ trauma.
She added: ‘It’s an injury I’m concerned about.’
Mr Little has told jurors Eva was ‘violently shaken on at least three separate occasions in the early weeks of her very young life’.
He added: ‘There are no viable alternative perpetrators. No one else living in the house who could have killed Eva. Nor are there any realistic, viable alternative explanation for Eva’s death.’
The trial continues.
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