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Baby murderer Lee Vernon wore 'KILLIN IT' hat hours after birth of tragic son Mckenzie Ellis

Twisted Lee Vernon is pictured wearing a hat bearing the words 'KILLIN IT' just hours after the birth of the baby son he murdered six weeks later.

The 21-year-old is all smiles for the camera following the arrival of Mckenzie Ellis, who is cradled by his teenage mum, Katrina Ellis.

Lee Veron, wearing a 'KILLIN' IT' hat, is pictured with Mckenzie and mum, Katrina, in hospital
Lee Veron, wearing a 'KILLIN' IT' hat, is pictured with Mckenzie and mum, Katrina, in hospital

But 47 days later the baby would be dead, with 28 fractures to his tiny bones, his life cruelly ended by the man he looked to for "love and protection".

Vernon - a cannabis smoker raised in foster care - would later claim the injuries were sustained when he accidentally dropped Mckenzie at home in Broadstairs.

But a jury saw through his lies, convicting him of murder after deciding he deliberately hurt his own baby, shaking Mckenzie so hard he suffered a bleed to his brain.

Vernon wept as the verdict was read out yesterday following a three-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

He sat with his head bowed in the dock, just yards from Miss Ellis, who attended every day of the trial.

The court had earlier been told how Mckenzie was taken to Margate's QEQM Hospital on July 23 last year after collapsing at his home in Linley Road.

He was transferred to Kings College Hospital in London but never recovered and died three days later.

Mckenzie Ellis suffered 28 bone fractures before his death
Mckenzie Ellis suffered 28 bone fractures before his death

He was just 47 days old.

Tests would later reveal he had 28 fractures to his bones, a fractured skull and a bleed on his brain, which killed him.

Vernon, who had made the initial call to 999, was arrested.

He denied deliberately hurting Mckenzie, telling the court he dropped the baby at home.

"He kind of lost balance and fell onto sofa and then onto the ground," he said.

"He wasn't moving or anything. I presumed he was unconscious and his eyes were closed.

Lee Vernon murdered his baby son
Lee Vernon murdered his baby son

"I started panicking and picked him up. I put my arms under his armpits.

"I panicked and I shook him. I don't really know why. Just to get a response out of him."

In cross-examination, Vernon added: "I accept that I caused all the injuries which led to my son's death, but I can't explain why.

"I did not intend to kill him or cause him any serious injuries."

The UK's only forensic bone expert, Professor David Mangham, told the jury he believed Mckenzie's injuries were "non-accidental".

He added some of the fractures could have been caused three weeks before the baby's death, while others would have been inflicted using "swinging, twisting and pulling" actions.

"Substantial force" would have been needed to cause some compression fractures to Mckenzie's chest, he added.

Lee Vernon murdered his six-week-old son, Mckenzie Ellis
Lee Vernon murdered his six-week-old son, Mckenzie Ellis

Police later examined Vernon's mobile phone and discovered he had searched: "Have you ever hurt your child and had a meltdown?"

Prosecutors alleged he had caused Mckenzie's fatal head injury by shaking the baby.

Vernon admitted manslaughter at the start of his trial, but denied murder and two charges of inflicting GBH with intent.

He was convicted him on all three charges and will be sentenced on November 29 after probation teams prepare reports on him for the judge.

Miss Ellis is expected to read a statement to the court about the impact on her of Mckenzie's death.

After the verdict, senior investigating officer DCI Richard Vickery said: "It’s impossible to comprehend the suffering that Mckenzie endured during his short life at the hands of his father.

"Vernon has shown himself to be a cruel and cowardly man after hurting his helpless baby, who looked to him for love and care.

Lee Vernon, who murdered his six-week-old son, in his KILLIN' IT hat
Lee Vernon, who murdered his six-week-old son, in his KILLIN' IT hat

"I’m so grateful to the medical experts and my investigation team who, despite this complex and emotional case, were able to get to the truth of what happened to ensure Vernon’s conviction."

An NSPCC spokesman described Mckenzie's death as the "horrific and senseless murder of an innocent baby at the hands of a man who should have been nurturing and protecting him".

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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