Mum spared jail after shaking baby to death

Court news
Court news

A mentally ill mum who killed her baby slipped through the “bureaucratic” net of health services.

Eloise Burton-Cope, 33, shook four-month-old son Leon so hard that he suffered brain damage, a court heard on Wednesday,

She was sentenced to two years in prison, but the sentence was suspended for two years.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how Mrs Burton-Cope called paramedics from her Deanshanger home on March 29, 2014.

She said her son had made a “strange noise” and she had shaken him.

The court heard Leon had been crying for several days and was not feeding properly.

Leon was taken to MK Hospital with a fractured skull and brain damage. He died two days later.

Jane Humphryes QC, in defence, said Mrs Burton-Cope had sought help from the NHS for severe post-natal depression.

But she said the mum-of-two, who has an older daughter, “was lost in a bureaucratic system short of funding” with no proper plan to treat her.

She was “passed from department to department, each one thinking the other was looking after her”, the court heard.

Ms Humphryes said: “This was a distressed, tired, mentally ill lady. She was doing her best to look after her child and she panicked. There’s nothing to suggest she didn’t love and care for him.”

Mrs Burton-Cope pleaded not guilty to murdering Leon, but guilty to manslaughter.

It was claimed medication given to Mrs Burton-Cope led to psychotic behaviour and made her hear voices.

A health visitor had visited her two months before Leon’s death - but no concerns were raised.

Ms Humphryes said: “Her devastation is total and she will certainly never overcome that...she will have to live with these tragic events for the rest of her life.”