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Teenager found guilty of murdering four-month-old baby

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Teenager found guilty of murdering four-month-old baby

A teenager has been found guilty of murder after shaking his partner’s four-month-old baby to death when he was aged 16.

Carl Alesbrook, now aged 19, caused bleeding on the brain, whiplash-type injuries and multiple bone fractures to Elijah Shemwell seven weeks after meeting the child’s mother, India Shemwell, in November 2021.

Alesbrook, of Upper Greenhill Gardens, Matlock in Derbyshire, denied causing any harm to Elijah but was unanimously convicted of both murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent by the jury at Derby Crown Court on Thursday.

Medical evidence presented to a five-week-trial showed Elijah suffered brain damage from being shaken on at least three separate occasions, including New Year’s Day and January 2 2022, as well as 17 bruises around his chest, back and stomach consistent with grip marks.

He also suffered rib and limb fractures, while his fatal head injuries were described in court as “catastrophic”.

Alesbrook told the court that he looked after Elijah alone while Shemwell was working away from her home in Acorn Drive, Belper, Derbyshire.

The court was told that days before Elijah was rushed to hospital on January 2, Alesbrook sent a Snapchat message to Shemwell calling her baby a “c***”, but he denied being “unduly angered or irritated” by the child.

Shemwell, who was aged 21 at the time but is now 23, has admitted to two counts of child cruelty, including the fact that she did not dial emergency services more quickly after Elijah became unwell.

The court heard she sent a video of Elijah unresponsive with a floppy arm to friends on Facebook to ask for advice on his condition on January 1.

CCTV shown to Alesbrook’s trial showed Shemwell visiting a shop on the night of the fatal assault.

Jurors were told Shemwell also filmed video of Elijah struggling to breathe before she dialled 999 at 10.33pm on January 2, leading to him being taken by paramedics to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

He died three days later on January 5.

Shemwell was described during her ex-partner’s trial as “a thoroughly inadequate mother” who both generally and specifically neglected Elijah and failed to seek prompt medical attention for him on both January 1 and 2.

Prosecutor Vanessa Marshall KC told the jury trying Alesbrook: “Whilst the prosecution heavily criticise Miss Shemwell for this neglect towards Elijah, it is not the prosecution’s case that she caused any of the injuries.”

Ms Marshall continued: “The prosecution is confident that a careful review of the evidence in this case puts this defendant alone with Elijah moments before the critical incidents… so as to make it inexplicable on the basis of coincidence that it was not this defendant who was responsible for causing Elijah’s injuries and death.”

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