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Broadstairs dad Lee Vernon admits killing baby son McKenzie Ellis

A father has admitted killing his six-week-old son in Broadstairs at the start of a murder trial.

Lee Vernon, 21, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of McKenzie Ellis and two charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm on the baby.

Mckenzie Ellis died after suffering a head injury
Mckenzie Ellis died after suffering a head injury

But he has denied alternative charges of murder and two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent in July last year.

The jury at Maidstone Crown Court heard how McKenzie lived with his 19-year-old mother Katrina Ellis in Linley Road, St Peters, Broadstairs

The judge, Mr Justice Nicklin, told the jury how McKenzie had been born at the QEQM Hospital, Margate, on June 9 last year.

"He was born without abnormalities. On July 23 McKenzie was rushed off via ambulance back to the hospital because he was unresponsive and in an unconscious state, although he was breathing.

Lee Vernon is accused of murdering his six-week-old son, McKenzie Ellis
Lee Vernon is accused of murdering his six-week-old son, McKenzie Ellis

"His pupils were fixed and his left eye was bloodshot.

"The treating clinicians and consultants discovered he had a severe bleed on the brain and he was transferred to a London hospital."

The baby died three days later on July 26 in King's College Hospital, without regaining consciousness when he was just 47 days old.

His life support machine was turned off at 6.28pm.

Prosecutor Steven Perian QC said: "The Crown alleges that the defendant intentionally inflicted non-accidental injuries on his son which resulted in a bleed on the brain. It was a fatal head injury.

Maidstone Crown Court
Maidstone Crown Court

"Upon examination, further injuries were diagnosed by medical experts.

"These injuries included a skull fracture and a broken blood vessel, close to the internal corner of the left eye.

"There were a number of skeletal fractures found, fractures to the left collarbone, the left ankle and right thigh bone as well as 11 rib fractures."

Mr Perian added: "The expert medical opinion is that the fatal head injury caused McKenzie's death but it had occurred in the context of multiple rib fractures and fractures to the left ankle region."

The prosecutor said that some of the injuries the baby had suffered happened between one and three weeks prior to his tragic death.

"We say that the fatal injury to McKenzie was caused by shaking the child with a firm grip to the chest causing rib fractures.

"When asked about the paramedics how the child had the bloodshot eye. The defendant stated that McKenzie had accidentally hit his face on Vernon's shoulder the day before..." - Steven Perian QC

"We also suggest that there had been forcible twisting and pulling of the lower limbs."

Mr Perian added that when Vernon was interviewed he gave an explanation "inconsistent with the medical opinion".

He said on July 14 Vernon made a call to to the NHS 111 telephone line saying saying McKenzie was crying all the time, he had a sore throat and his excrement was discoloured.

He added: "The defendant suggested it might be colic. When asked if there had been any heavy breathing, he said not.

"He said there was a bruise on McKenzie's leg but believed this was caused by blanket pressure being wrapped around him."

Arrangements were made to get the child to hospital and the operator could hear a baby crying constantly.

The prosecutor said on July 19 the child was taken to a doctor's surgery and a GP identified a "sub conjunctival haemorrhage."

On July 23 Vernon dialled 999 claiming his son had become unconscious and was having difficulty breathing.

"Paramedics arrived nine minutes later and McKenzie was unresponsive and in an unconscious state.

"When asked by the paramedics how the child had the bloodshot eye. The defendant stated that McKenzie had accidentally hit his face on Vernon's shoulder the day before," Mr Perian said.

Later Vernon told police the child fell as he was about to feed him.

The prosecutor added: "Vernon said that McKenzie then fell colliding with the wooden arm of the chair before falling to the ground.

"McKenzie immediately became unconscious and unresponsive. He picked up McKenzie and sat with him on the sofa trying to obtain a response."

The prosecutor added: "We suggest the defendant is a manipulative liar, who is able to provide a convincing account which is inconsistent with the medical opinion."

The prosecutor said Vernon had searched 'I grabbed my baby too hard, now has bruises' and 'Have you ever accidentally hurt your child when they are having a meltdown' online.

Vernon claimed he did this after he had lifted up his child by the ankles, leaving red marks.

The trial continues.

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