Teenage Father Jailed Over Baby Death

A teenage father from Cornwall who was said to have "lost his temper" with his three-month-old baby has been jailed for causing his son's death

Stephen Coukham initially denied murdering his son Tyrone, but later admitted he was responsible for the death, on July 21 2010. 

Coukham, then 18, was living with his partner - the baby's mother, Kerry Marriott - at a flat in Truro when he took Tyrone into the bedroom to change him. 

Minutes later, he raised the alarm when the baby stopped breathing. 

Tyrone died later that day in hospital. 

Medics said the baby suffered a "devastating, unsurvivable head injury" which had the features of, or was suggestive of, non-accidental head injury. 

Mrs Justice Sharp jailed Coukham, now 21, for three years and eight months at Truro Crown Court after his plea of manslaughter was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service. 

She said: "The precise sequence of events that led to Tyrone's death will never be known. 

But you lost your temper because he was crying or wouldn't stop crying. "Then in a fit of temper you shook him hard, or threw him down on a soft surface - actions that were likely to cause him harm.'' 

The investigating officer, DS Andy Warne commented: "Stephen Coukham has today pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his baby son. 

"This was a violent act committed against a defenceless ten-week-old baby who sustained terrible injuries at the hands of the very person who should have been caring for him. 

"This conviction follows a sensitive and thorough two-year police investigation involving officers from our major crime and child abuse teams. 

"We would also like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust who played a major role in securing vital evidence at the outset of this investigation. 

"Undoubtedly, their expertise, coupled with the use of the very latest technology, helped us to bring Coukham to justice."