Father convicted of killing seven-week-old baby son

Brian Penn, 30, carried out the fatal attack on Kaleb Penn at his home in Ayr on November 1, 2017.

Father convicted of killing seven-week-old baby son Getty Images

A father has been convicted of killing his seven-week-old baby boy.

Brian Penn, 30, carried out the fatal attack on Kaleb Penn at his home in Ayr, South Ayrshire, on November 1, 2017.

He had pinned the blame on the boy’s mum.

Penn violently shook Kaleb and inflicted an unknown blunt force trauma on him.

The child was found to have suffered a skull fracture, a bleed to the brain, a serious brain injury and fractured ribs.

Penn initially claimed to medics the boy had suffered a “choking episode” but he died two days later in hospital.

Penn showed no emotion as he was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of culpable homicide and a separate charge of assault to Kaleb’s severe injury and danger of life.

He had originally been charged with murder and a further allegation of attempted murder.

He will be sentenced next month.

Kaleb’s mum told jurors in evidence Penn woke her up on the morning of his death asking her to phone 999.

She said: “He said the wean wasn’t breathing. I was in bed and Kaleb was in his arms at the bedroom door.”

Prosecutor Erin Campbell asked how Kaleb was and she replied: “I put my hand on his heart and it was still beating but I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t breathing.

“His eyes were rolling to the back of his head.”

She said she could not watch as mercy crews tended to Kaleb and rushed him to hospital.

It was put to Kaleb’s mum that she knew about her son choking on prune juice as she said it during the 999 call.

She was asked how she knew and she replied: “Brian came in and I asked what happened and he said Kaleb choked on prune juice but I didn’t know more about it.”

She later added: “He said he patted his back and said he stiffened up, his body went flimsy then realised he wasn’t breathing.”

She said she was beside Penn when he told medical staff that he dropped Kaleb on a changing mat weeks before.

It was also put to the mum that she told police in a statement that Kaleb had a bump on the back of his head.

She said she had not known him to hit his head.

Ms Campbell asked: “Did you forget or deliberately not tell them?”

Kaleb’s mum said: “I did forget as my head was discombobulated as my thoughts were to see my son.”

She denied causing Kaleb’s injuries stating: “I wouldn’t harm anyone, I couldn’t kill a spider.”

Nurse Carol McNeill earlier told jurors that she spoke to Penn after Kaleb arrived at the hospital.

Mrs McNeill stated: “He said that he had been feeding the baby and there had been a choking episode. 

“He (Kaleb) had vomited, but that it was not vomit.”

Consultant neuropathologist professor Colin Smith, 53, who examined Kaleb’s brain after his death, gave evidence at the trial.

He said: “[Kaleb’s injuries] are only seen in a setting of severe trauma, this is either a fall from a height or road traffic incident.”

Prof Smith also claimed there was evidence of previous bleeding to the brain dated seven to ten days before Kaleb’s death.

He was then asked: “We may hear evidence that three weeks before his death, he may have been dropped from about 12 inches to the ground.

“Was a fall like that likely to have caused the injuries to the brain?”

Prof Smith replied: “It is possible.”

Ms Campbell asked: “Would it be clear the level of brain injury you identified in this case would have led Kaleb to be unresponsive?”

Prof Smith replied: “That’s my opinion.”

Penn, represented by QC Brian McConnachie, did not give evidence during the trial, but had lodged an incrimination claiming Miss Cope was responsible.

Sentence was deferred until next month for background reports by judge Lord Weir who remanded Penn in custody meantime.

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