Father, 26, is found guilty of murdering his eight-week-old son

Father, 26, is found guilty of murdering his eight-week-old son

Father, 26, is found guilty of murdering his eight-week-old son after shaking him with the ‘force of a car accident’

  • Oliver Mailey, 26, shook his eight-week-old son Abel with ‘force of a car accident’
  • Abel died on November 30, 2021, three days after suffering the fatal injury 
  • Mailey, who shook Abel before, was convicted of murder at Preston Court Court

A father has been found guilty of murdering his eight-week-old baby boy after violently shaking him.

Oliver Mailey, 26, shook his son Abel-Jax on at least two separate occasions before a fateful incident on November 27, 2021, when Mailey shook his baby with the ‘force of a car accident’.

When Abel went limp and stopped breathing. Mailey, of Burnley,Lancashire, rang the child’s mother, Mollie Gorton, and her cousin, before calling an ambulance. 

Abel was taken to Blackburn Royal Hospital but later transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital where his life support was withdrawn on November 30.

Mailey has now been convicted of murder following a trial at Preston Crown Court. 

Oliver Mailey, 26, denied murdering his son but admitting causing the fatal head injuries in court. He has now  been convicted of murder after a trial

Mailey and his partner Mollie were arrested on suspicion of GBH, and later murder. 

However, Mailey insisted the baby had gone floppy following a feed and denied having any involvement in Abel’s death. He allowed Abel’s heartbroken mum to face investigation, knowing it was his fault their son had collapsed.

On the first day of the trial at Preston Crown Court, Mailey confessed he had shaken Abel on another occasion, around a week before he died. 

He claimed he did not know the child would be seriously injured. He also admitted shaking Abel ‘in a moment of madness’ when he would not stop crying on November 27.

However his partner Mollie and the family’s health visitor confirmed they had been warned of the dangers of shaking during a visit to the home for a routine during the week between the two shaking incidents.

Mailey will be sentenced tomorrow morning.

Mailey says he did not intend to hurt or harm his son, eight-week-old Abel-Jax, seen here, who later died of injuries as a result of being shaken

Giving evidence earlier in the trial, Mailey said he was ‘buzzing’ when he learned he was going to be a father.

Tests in a previous relationship confirmed he had a low sperm count and he did not believe he could have children.

When his partner Mollie Gorton fell pregnant five months into their relationship, Mailey said he questioned the baby’s paternity, due to his medical history.

However, he said once he realised his partner was telling the truth he was ‘amazed’. He said he and Ms Gorton had money worries and agreed to try and reduce their cannabis intake, and he took a job as a labourer to make ends meet.

Mailey, of Burnley, said he had been suffering with dental pain for a number of years which kept him awake at night. He was unable to access an NHS dentist and took high strength codeine to relieve his symptoms. He had also stopped taking anti-depressants.

When Abel-Jax was born, in October 2021, Mailey said fatherhood was not what he expected. ‘It was really stressful’, he said. ‘I tried my best.’

Mailey told the court he held the baby in his hands and shook him backwards and forwards

On November 27, 2021, Mailey took over the care of Abel-Jax at night to allow his partner to sleep, as she was working the following day. He fed, changed and winded the baby two or three times during the night.

Mailey later admitted he shook the little boy a week earlier, causing broken ribs.

He held the baby in his hands and shook him backwards and forwards ‘maybe five times’, he said.

‘It was a moment of madness – to stop him crying. I’d tried to soothe him, rock him. He wouldn’t stop crying. I’d changed his nappy, given him a bottle, everything like that.’

Mailey said immediately after shaking him, Abel went limp, stopped breathing and turned grey. He called Mollie at work, and when she didn’t answer the phone, called Mollie’s cousin, who was a mum, to ask for advice. He managed to speak to both women and showed them Abel on a video call. Both told him to call an ambulance.

As Ms Gorton ran home from work, through snowy conditions, Mailey attempted CPR, as directed by emergency services. ‘It was horrible. Devastating’, he said. ‘I still think about it to this day.’

However, he did not tell anyone he had shaken baby Abel. He told the court he thought Abel would be ‘really poorly’ but thought the CPR would revive him.

Abel was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital where medics carried out investigations into the cause of Abel’s collapse. The carried out tests for meningitis and sepsis, but when Ms Gorton asked her partner if he had shaken their son, Mailey denied he had done so.

He continued his denials when both parents were arrested on suspicion of GBH, and when they were later accused of murder, following Abel’s death on November 30. 

He only admitted he had killed Abel in December 2020, and maintained he had not shaken him a week earlier until the first day of his trial at Preston Crown Court. ‘I was just really scared’, he said. ‘I didn’t intend to hurt Abel. I know it’s really bad. It eats away at me every day.’

Under cross examination, Mailey said he felt ‘really bad in myself’ after shaking Abel. But Timothy Cary KC, prosecuting, questioned why he only shook the baby when there was no-one else around.

‘I didn’t know it would cause serious harm,’ Mailey replied. Mr Cray KC reminded Mailey of a visit by the family’s health visitor in the week between the two shaking incidents, in which they were told about the dangers of shaking babies, due to the soft nature of their brains.

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