Eight-week-old baby girl 'shaken to death by parent after suffering brain injuries and 11 broken ribs'

AN eight-week old baby was shaken to death by one of her parents after suffering several brain injuries and broken ribs, a court heard.

Tiffany Tate, 22, and Michael Roe, 33, are both accused of murdering their daughter Holly Roe at their home in Crowborough, East Sussex.

The parents, who deny murder, are also each charged with allowing the other to kill their daughter.

Jurors at Lewes Crown Court in Hove were told they must decide which parent murdered the baby.

They heard that Holly Roe suffered brain injuries on at least three occasions and 11 fractures to her ribs before paramedics found her cold and unresponsive.

Sally Howes QC for the Crown said: “This is consistent with the brain being rattled around.

“This was a perfectly healthy baby who finally, catastrophically and fatally collapses."


The court heard how Michael Roe told a health visitor his partner felt like throwing Holly against the wall during a night feed, which Ms Tate agreed she said.

She also admitted struggling to bond with her baby in the first few weeks of its life.

"When the baby cried, she became frustrated and panicked," Ms Howes said.

Michael Roe also told a health visitor he took over night feeds as Tate had no patience with Holly.

Ms Howes said Michael Roe was the last to see Holly alive.

She noted that it was the position of the prosecution that "the strength of the evidence suggests it’s Michael Roe who is responsible".

But she added: “There is also evidence for you to consider Tiffany Tate had the opportunity for that unlawful act."

Emergency services were called to the house in the early hours of Monday, September 10, 2018 after the couple reported she was not breathing.

Holly was found to be cold, not breathing and with no heart activity at all, Ms Howes said.

Paramedics battled to save her before she was taken to Pembury Hospital in Tunbridge Wells where she was pronounced dead.

Port mortem examinations showed numerous signs of injury on her tiny body.


The first brain injury was a few weeks before her death, the second several days before and the final brain injury within 48 hours, Ms Howes said.

The pattern of injuries showed they were the result of non-accidental and abusive head trauma, consultant neuropathologist Prof Safa Al-Sarrau said.

Forensic Pathologist Dr Charlotte Randall said death was due to head injury.

The likely mechanism of Holly's injuries would have been violent shaking.

The multiple fracture injuries found on Holly's ribcage were also often associated with shaking-type head injury, Ms Howes said.

Dr Nicola Cleghorn examining said Holly would have been extremely distressed by the pain from her rib fractures.

Ms Howes said: “Dr Cleghorn considers the most likely cause of the rib fractures to be an inflicted injury, most likely excessive squeezing around her chest and, in conjunction with the opinions about the traumatic brain injury would support there having been a shaking episode."

Former foster child Tiffany Tate was 19 when she moved in with Michael Roe.

They lived together in Crowborough, East Sussex and baby Holly was born two months premature on July 14, 2018.

Miss Tate and Mr Roe both deny murder and causing or allowing the death of their baby.

The trial, expected to last four weeks, continues.

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