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Truro father Stephen Coukham jailed for killing baby

By WBMiles  |  Posted: January 15, 2013

  • Stephen Coukham

  • Stephen Coukham from Truro has been jailed for killing his three-month-old baby, Tyrone.

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A young father from Truro was jailed this morning for killing his baby in a "fit of temper".

Stephen Coukham, 21, was sentenced to three years and eight months at Truro Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of manslaughter.

His son Tyrone died on July 21, 2010 at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro after suffering a "devastating, unsurviveable injury" at the family home in Polruan Court.

The court heard that Coukham had gone into the bedroom with his three-month-old baby to change him and came out two minutes later calling for his partner and Tyrone's mother, Kerry Marriott

.Judge Mrs Justice Sharp told Coukham during sentencing: "The precise sequence of events that led to his death will never be known."I infer that when you were in the bedroom you lost your temper because he was crying and then in a fit of temper you shook him hard or threw him down on a soft surface."

At the time of Tyrone's death Coukham was 18-years-old.

Justice Sharp told Coukham she was satisfied he had not intended to cause Tyrone harm. She said: "This case is, in a real sense, a tragedy for all concerned. For Tyrone whose life was cut short so young, for Kerry and her wider family, but also for you as you will have to live with the knowledge of what you did for the rest of your life."

The court heard that doctors in Truro had consulted with colleagues in Bristol over the possible causes of death.

Justice Sharp said: "The consensus of many doctors was that Tyrone had suffered a devastating, unsurviveable injury as a result of a non-accidental head injury.

"The court also heard evidence that the fatal injury came against a backdrop of previous episodes of head injuries.

In mitigation the court heard that Coukham had very much wanted the baby and Tyrone had always appeared to be in good health and well cared for when seen by health professionals. Defence barrister Simon Laws QC said that Coukham's youth was a key factor.

Justice Sharp said: "There can be no doubt that you were both inexperienced parents and that this affected the care you gave to Tyrone."

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