Truro father jailed for killing baby
3:15pm Tuesday 15th January 2013 in Truro
A young man who inflicted devastating and unsurvivable injuries on his three-month-old son Tyrone was jailed for three years and eight months at Truro Crown Court today Tuesday.
Stephen Coukham, aged 21, who had denied murder, had his plea of guilty to manslaughter accepted by the Crown.
Mrs Justice Sharp told a packed court that the case was a real tragedy for all concerned.
Coukham was just 18, and living with his partner Kerry Marriott, in a flat at Polruan Court, Truro, when Tyrone was injured on July 20, 2010 and died in hospital the following day.
Prosecutor Martin Meeke QC said that medical experts found that Tyrone had suffered acceleration-decleration injuries to his head, having been vigorously shaken by his father.
Two days before his death he was examined by his GP who found him to be a thiving baby and was not concerned about his health.
Defence counsel Simon Laws QC said that Coukham was only 17 when he found he and his partner were expecting a baby. He was overjoyed at the news, and he had been actively involved in the care of Tyrone. A Health Visitor had found the child well looked after an d although the parents were young and inexperienced they were doing their best.
Coukhamn was described as not a callous individual, but a loving, caring father.
Sentencing Coukham the Judge told him: "I am satisfied you really loved Tyrone and did not intend to cause him really serious harm. You are of good character and remorseful.
But the injuries were not accidental and the baby was extremely vulnerable. You lost your temper because he was crying and in a fit of temper either threw him down on a soft surface or shook him in a way in which it should have been obvious to you that it was likely he could suffer harm. You were too young to have the maturity required to care for a vulnerable baby."