Dad guilty of murdering nine-week-old baby after ‘getting angry at his crying’
A father who banged his baby’s head in and left him with brain injuries after he got tired of crying has been found guilty of murder.
Leon Mathias, 34, has been told to face an “inevitable” prison sentence for killing his nine-week-old boy Hunter, which prosecutors say happened when he became angry at his crying.
During a four-month trial, Mathias, of Stonebridge Lane, Great Houghton, was convicted of his son’s murder and told the jury he was trying to save Hunter’s life after he suddenly stopped breathing while taking a bath.
He said he got into the tub with his son on the evening of November 30, 2018 while his partner Becky Higginbottom was downstairs.
He was previously acquitted of the intentional grievous bodily harm.
However, Robert Smith KC, prosecutor, told Sheffield Crown Court that Mathias had murdered his son, possibly after he lost his temper at the baby’s roar.
A post mortem found bruising on Hunter’s scalp consistent with an impact injury to the head.
And scans also showed three lower limb fractures. One was believed to have happened around the time of the head injury, with the other two days earlier.
Mr Smith went on to say that experts believe these injuries were closely linked to shaking a child, twisting limbs or swinging a child by the legs.
The nine-week-old man was taken to Barnsley District General Hospital, where hospital staff struggled to revive him on November 30, 2018.
However, his brain injury was so severe and his brain was so swollen that they were unable to save him and he later died on December 3, 2018.
Mrs Justice Lambert, Mathias, of Barnsley, South Yorks, in custody until Thursday (February 2) if he is convicted following the verdict by a 10-2 majority.
She said to him: ‘Mr Mathias, you have been found guilty of murder.
“A custodial sentence is inevitable, as I am sure you know. For this reason you will be taken into custody. You will be brought in for sentencing.’
The jury returned a not-guilty verdict on the second charge against Mathias of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm.
Following today’s verdict, DCI Chief Investigative Officer Mark Oughton said: “This has been a lengthy and complex investigation and trial and I applaud the decision made by the jury today.
“Mathias was first arrested by detectives on December 5, 2018 before being released on bail and re-arrested on Thursday October 17, 2019. He was later charged with the Section 18 murder of Hunter and assault on February 1, 2021.
“He made ‘no comment’ in the interview.
“We will never know exactly what happened during Hunter’s bath time on November 30, 2018; What we do know is that he sustained catastrophic injuries from his father. I am pleased that justice was done today.”
He will be sentenced on February 2nd.
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