A man who killed his 23-day-old daughter by shaking her to death has been jailed for eight years.
Thomas Haining, who was 19 at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty to culpable homicide at the High Court in Edinburgh over the death of his daughter Mikayla.
The court heard Haining inflicted “catastrophic” brain injuries on Mikayla during a “momentary loss of control”, leaving her in a coma with a fractured skull and several broken ribs.
Haining was said to have been caring for Mikayla on the night of June 7 2017 because she was suffering from diarrhoea in the days before her death.
He initially claimed to ex-girlfriend Shannon Davies that Mikayla became sleepy and unresponsive as he went downstairs to feed her at their Inverness home.
But phone records later revealed Haining had made four internet searches during this time, trying to find out information about babies being in a coma and querying: “What happens if a newborn baby is shake (sic) hard?”
Paramedics were called and took her to hospital where she was placed in intensive care with a ventilator, having suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of the head trauma.
Later that afternoon, the baby was taken off life support and placed into her mother’s arms where she passed away at 4.46pm.
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After two years of denying he had killed his daughter, Crown prosecutors accepted a guilty plea from Haining to the charge of culpable homicide on September 5.
Shelagh McCall QC, representing Haining, told the court on Tuesday he was prepared for a lengthy time in jail and that he now “hated” himself.
She claimed the killer panicked after the event but he now wishes he had come clean about his actions sooner.
Ms McCall said: “He described himself as reflecting that he should have manned up at that time and told the truth, as a clear acknowledgement from Mr Haining that he was solely responsible for what happened and that he ought to have told the truth far sooner than he did.”
She added: “He is preparing for a significant custodial sentence, he feels this is justified due to the severity of his actions, stating that he is disgusted with himself, that he hated himself for what he has done.”
The court heard the 21-year-old had a troubled upbringing and a history of violence as a teenager, although he had no previous criminal convictions.
Judge Lord Pentland said: “In the early hours of June 8 2017 you killed your baby daughter Mikayla.
“I use the term ‘killed’ advisably, as the Crown has accepted your late plea of guilty to culpable homicide and not to insist on the original more serious allegation of murder, on the basis you didn’t deliberately intend to kill Mikayla.
“Mikayla was 23 days old. She was in your sole care at the time of her death.
“You shook her, causing her head to strike the door that she was so severely injured that she later died.”
Haining was sentenced to eight years in prison, backdated to September 11, which the judge said that would have been nine years if it had gone to trial.