Dad shook premature baby to death with mum claiming her daughter was ‘fine’

An eight-week-old baby was shaken to death by her dad, while her mum told police that the horrifically injured baby was “fine”, a court has heard.

Premature baby Holly Roe suffered head injuries on three different occasions and 12 rib fractures in her short life, The Sun reports.

Dad Michael Roe, 32, is accused of shaking Holly on more than one occasion, leading to her death in September 2018.

Mum Tiffany Tate, 22, is accused of allowing her death at the hands of the father, Lewes Crown Court in Hove, two hours south of London, heard.

Holly was born on July 14, 2018, two months early by emergency caesarean section and had to be resuscitated.

She was discharged from hospital on August 9, but within a few weeks she was dead from injuries caused by violent, abusive shaking.

Sally Howes QC told the jury the rib fractures she suffered would have been extremely painful and Holly would have been severely distressed.

But Tate told police she thought her baby was absolutely fine, just hours before her death.

Ms Howes told the jury that Tate turned a blind eye to her child’s horrific injuries.

Tate told the court Roe woke her at 1.30am saying: “Holly’s cold, she’s not breathing.”

Emergency services were called to the house in the early hours of September 10, 2018 after the couple reported she was having breathing difficulties.

Tate, a former foster child, was only 19 when she moved in with Roe.

They lived together in Crowborough, East Sussex, an hour south of London, when baby Holly was born two months premature.

Tate admitted she had trouble bonding with her daughter while she was still in the premature baby unit, something that continued after Holly was allowed home.

According to Ms Howes, when the baby cried, she became frustrated and panicked and Roe took over night feeds as she had no patience with Holly.

Roe fed the baby after smoking a cannabis joint on the night she died, the court heard.

Holly was found to be cold, not breathing and with no heart activity.

Ms Howes told the court Roe had said to the police that something startled him.

“He felt Holly’s head and it was cold. He then felt her chest and it was warm,” Ms Howes told the court.

“He carried out a test for reflex, there was none.

“He woke Tiffany Tate and gave two rescue breaths to Holly but she did not respond.

“Michael Roe rang the emergency services for an ambulance.”

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

Holly died on September 10, 2018 and post mortem examinations showed numerous signs of injury on her tiny body.

Roe had no patience with his daughter and lost his temper at feeding times as Ms Howes told the jury he “knew exactly what he was doing.”

Roe denies murder. Tate, also unemployed, denies causing or allowing the death of her child.

The jury have been told the case they are hearing for the first time is a retrial.

The trial at Lewes Crown Court in Hove continues.

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