King’s Lynn father jailed for seven years for killing his six-month-old baby
- Credit: Archant
A King's Lynn father who killed his six-month-old daughter by shaking her causing brain damage, has been jailed for seven years.
Officers were called to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk, after Milana Guzas was admitted with suspected head injuries on February 26.
She was transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where she died on March 2 last year, after her life support equipment was turned off when it became clear she could not be revived.
Arunas Guzas, 40, of Greenland Avenue, King's Lynn, denied the offence but was convicted of her manslaughter following a two-week trial at Norwich Crown Court.
Mr Justice Garnham said Guzas had been working nights and was extremely tired when he had been left looking after his child and must have shaken her and thrown her on the bed.
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He said that perhaps it was because the child had woken crying.
'You shook her hard, probably repeatedly, causing her head to flop forwards and backwards then threw her on the bed. I accept you did not intend to seriously harm her and certainly had no intention to kill. You must have known to shake her like that was wrong and likely to cause her some harm.'
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He said Guzas, who was weeping in the dock, had not contacted emergency services about Milana and had not told medical staff or police the truth about what happened.
Mr Justice Garnham added: 'I recognise the guilt you have suffered over the death of Milana.'
William Carter, for Guzas, said: 'This case on any view is tragic.'
He said that he would have to live for the rest of his life knowing he was responsible for the death of his child: 'He is simply broken.'
He said that Guzas had been tired after working a night shift.
'He was not just tired he was very tired and that had come about in relation to the change of his shift pattern.'
He said that Guzas had started working nights to try to provide a better life for his family when the incident had happened: 'What followed which must have taken seconds was a loss, not of temper, but of control. They are different, resulting in what must have been forceful shaking.'
After the case Det Chief Insp Mike Brown, who led the investigation, said: 'This was an extremely tragic investigation from the outset involving the premature death of a baby girl. Her death was sadly inevitable given the extent of her injuries.'
He thanked the medical staff involved and said: 'Our primary concern throughout this enquiry has been to seek justice for Milana, which today's result reflects.'
During the trial the court heard how medical staff became suspicious after Guzas brought Milana into the hospital claiming the baby was asleep on his chest when she let out a cry and became stiff and unresponsive.
However a scan showed Milana had suffered bleeding on the brain caused by 'non-accidential injury'.
Karim Khalil QC, prosecuting, said that the explanation given by Guzas kept changing and he told various stories including saying that he had fallen asleep and woke up to find her on the floor.
He said: 'Our case is that the defendant shook Milana or caused her head to strike one or more surfaces.'
Mr Khalil said the injury had caused irreparable brain damage which led to her death.
Mr Khalil said Guzas and his partner, the mother of Milana, had both been working factory shifts and sharing childcare duties for Milana.
He said the incident happened while he was alone with Milana but rather than phone 999 he had tried to contact his partner and claimed to have massaged the baby and put her in a shower to revive her.
Mr Khalil said in interview Guzas had denied any mishandling of Milana and claimed that he had not said at first about her falling off the bed as he was worried about her injuries.
Mr Khalil told the jury that such catastrophic injuries could not have been caused by a simple fall from the bed.