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Man jailed for life after breaking baby son’s neck in Leicester

A man has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 22 years for murdering his four-week-old son, who was left to die from a broken neck in 2017.

Michael Davis, 29, was found guilty last month of murdering his newborn son Ollie Davis, after a six-year investigation into the case.

He was also found guilty of two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent, while Ollie’s mother, Kayleigh Driver, 31, was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child and causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm.

She was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Mr Justice Cotter, sitting at Loughborough court, said Ollie had suffered a “devastating” fatal spinal injury up to eight days before his death, as well as dozens of other injuries inflicted over four separate overnight episodes of violence.

“At least five different mechanisms were required to cause this terrible array of injuries,” he said. “Michael Davis, I have no doubt that during the night, you became frustrated and angry and this led to terrible violence.”

In not seeking medical help, Davis showed “callous indifference” to Ollie’s suffering, the judge said.

Ollie as a newborn baby lying in a crib

Addressing Driver, he said she “must have heard Ollie’s cries after he was assaulted, as you were together in the bedroom. This must have woken you up.”

Emergency services were called to the family’s home in Leicester on 21 October 2017, after Ollie was found unresponsive in his cot.

The baby was taken to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

There were no obvious signs of injury or illness to account for Ollie’s death, but a postmortem examination revealed he had died from the delayed effects of a broken neck.

The injury had led to the compression of the spinal cord, which had caused him to stop breathing. It was also found that Ollie had 40 bone fractures, including a fractured skull, collarbone, breaks to joints in both arms and legs, and 23 rib fractures.

His parents were initially arrested by police on 27 October 2017, and offered no plausible explanation for the injuries.

A complex police investigation ensued, which established the fractures Ollie had sustained were non-accidental and must have been caused by serious physical abuse, including a blow to the head, severe compression of the chest, twisting of the limbs and a pulling of the neck.

After four years of gathering evidence, police charged the pair in October 2021. They both continued to deny any knowledge of what happened.

Ricky Driver, the father of Kayleigh Driver and grandfather of Ollie, said in a statement on behalf of the whole family that they were “shook to the core” when the couple were questioned by police.

“On the 21 October 2017, we were awakened to the sad news of Ollie’s sudden death and concluded that it was probably a cot death. A day none of us will forget,” he said.

“Over time, the injuries were made public, and we couldn’t believe what we were being told. Ollie was perfect in every way when he was born. This was our worst nightmare. How could anybody hurt a beautiful baby was beyond words.”

He added the family had been “dragged through hell for nearly seven years” through the case. “This has changed our family for ever and we suffer mentally from these evil actions,” he said.

The senior investigating officer DI Mark Parish said: “Due to the amount of injuries Ollie suffered, and the medical expertise needed to examine those injuries, it has taken more than six years for this investigation to come to court and for Ollie’s parents to be held accountable for his death.”