Teen guilty of shaking ex-partner’s four-month-old baby to death

Teen guilty of shaking ex-partner’s four-month-old baby to death

Carl Alesbrook has been found guilty of murder (Picture: Derbyshire Constabulary/PA)

A teenager has been found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s baby son by shaking him and causing ‘catastrophic injuries’.

Carl Alesbrook, now 19, was aged just 16 when he murdered four-month-old Elijah Shemwell, seven weeks after meeting the baby’s mother, India.

Baby Elijah suffered multiple bone fractures, bleeding on the brain and whiplash-type injuries after Alesbrook shook him on at least three separate occasions.

Alesbrook, of Upper Greenhill Gardens, Matlock, denied causing any harm to Elijah but was unanimously convicted of both murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Derby Crown Court heard that baby Elijah had been shaken at least three times, including on New Year’s Day and January 2, 2022, and he had 17 bruises around his chest, back and stomach consistent with grip marks.

He suffered brain damage and his head injuries were described as ‘catastrophic’.

Baby Elijah’s injuries were described as ‘catastrophic’ (Picture: Derbyshire Constabulary/PA)

Alesbrook was 16 years old when he killed baby Elijah (Picture: Derbyshire Constabulary/PA)

Days before Elijah was rushed to hospital on January 2, Alesbrook sent a Snapchat message to Shemwell calling her baby a ‘c***’ – but he denied being ‘unduly angered or irritated’ by the child.

Alesbrook told the court that he looked after Elijah alone while Shemwell was working away from her home in Acorn Drive, Belper, Derbyshire.

Shemwell, who was aged 21 at the time but is now 23, has admitted to two counts of child cruelty, including the fact that she did not dial emergency services more quickly after Elijah became unwell.

The court heard she sent a video of Elijah unresponsive with a floppy arm to friends on Facebook to ask for advice on his condition on January 1.

Shemwell also filmed video of Elijah struggling to breathe before she dialled 999 at 10.33pm on January 2, leading to him being taken by paramedics to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

He died in hospital three days later.

Shemwell was described during her ex-partner’s trial as ‘a thoroughly inadequate mother’ who both generally and specifically neglected Elijah and failed to seek prompt medical attention for him on both January 1 and 2.

Shemwell admitted two counts of child cruelty (Picture: Derbyshire Constabulary/PA)

Prosecutor Vanessa Marshall KC told the jury trying Alesbrook: ‘Whilst the prosecution heavily criticise Shemwell for this neglect towards Elijah, it is not the prosecution’s case that she caused any of the injuries.

‘The prosecution is confident that a careful review of the evidence in this case puts this defendant alone with Elijah moments before the critical incidents… so as to make it inexplicable on the basis of coincidence that it was not this defendant who was responsible for causing Elijah’s injuries and death.’

At the start of the trial it was alleged that Shemwell’s sexual relationship with her baby’s father, who she was separated from, may have caused Alesbrook ‘some understandable frustration at the uncertainty of the status of his relationship’ with her.

The prosecution also claimed Alesbrook had a toothache and the pain caused him to ‘lose his temper’ with Elijah.

Alesbrook denied that either of these factors caused him to act violently, but he was unanimously convicted by the jury after around 10 hours of deliberations.

He and Shemwell will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.

Adjourning the case, High Court Judge Mr Justice Jeremy Baker told Alesbrook: ‘There is only one sentence that can be imposed but part of that sentence will be a determination of the minimum term that you will have to serve.’

Alesbrook faces a whole-life term for the murder.

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