Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shaken Baby Syndrome causes seizured in infant

Her father, Christopher Dean Matthews, 30, denies a representative charge of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard for safety.

Opening the case for the Crown in the Christchurch District Court yesterday, prosecutor Kerryn Beaton said that on September 17, 2005, three-month-old Caitlyn Matthews was admitted to Christchurch Hospital so unwell that doctors did not think she would survive.

She was found to be suffering from a subdural bleed to the brain, and once stabilised she was transferred to Starship children's hospital in Auckland.

Caitlyn was found to have suffered a serious head injury, with damage to both sides of the brain.
Doctors concluded the injuries may have occurred up to weeks before her admission, Beaton said.

The Crown alleges Matthews caused the injuries by shaking the baby.

In a police interview on September 29, 2005, Matthews admitted shaking Caitlyn when she would not settle.

His then partner and the child's mother, Natasha Hening, admitted to police she had seen him shaking the baby on two other occasions.

Caitlyn was subsequently taken from her parents and is now in the care of relatives.

Hening said that before suffering seizures, Caitlyn had been a happy baby who got into a regular feeding routine and slept easily.

The accused's sister, Melissa Matthews, who moved in with the couple after Caitlyn was born, said she had no concerns about the way she was cared for.

The case, before Judge Phil Moran and a jury, is proceeding.


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