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Burnley father jailed for life for murdering baby son

|News, Violent crime

A father has been jailed for life for murdering his seven-week-old son at their home in Burnley.

Oliver Mailey, 26, contacted emergency services shortly after midday on Sunday 28 November 2021 stating that he had found his son, Abel-Jax Mailey, in his crib limp and lifeless.

Abel-Jax was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital before being transferred to Manchester Children's Hospital for further treatment where he died two days later. 

A Home Office post mortem examination confirmed Abel-Jax had died as a result of a brain injury consistent with shaking.

The examination also revealed Abel-Jax had a series of older, healing injuries to both his brain and his ribs, which were thought to have been caused by a previous incident of shaking four to 10 days before his death.

In the run up to the trial, Mailey pleaded guilty to manslaughter; he admitted he shook Abel-Jax on that Sunday morning, but claimed he had not intended to kill him or cause him serious bodily harm. He denied having hurt Abel-Jax previously. 

On the first day of the trial Mailey admitted he had previously shaken Abel-Jax. He gave evidence in the trial that both incidents were in similar circumstances; he had shaken him to stop him crying, but had done so without any intention to kill or cause serious harm.

Following a nine-day trial at Preston Crown Court, the jury concluded he did have the necessary intent when he shook Abel-Jax and found him guilty of murder. He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years.

Katie Marsden, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said: "This is a truly tragic case. In his very short life Abel-Jax was subjected to appalling injuries on more than one occasion at the hands of his father; one of the very people who should have kept him safe.

"The prosecution team worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Abel-Jax. Our thoughts remain with all those affected by his death."

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