Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Father jailed for at least 25 years for murdering 16-day-old daughter

A father has been jailed for a minimum of 25 years for the murder of his 16-day-old daughter.

In passing sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years, Mr Justice Kerr said that the ‘evil done’ by Matthew Higham in the ‘brutal and frenzied attack’ was greater than in other cases he had considered.


Higham, 23, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty to killing Florence Liberty Mae Higham at Preston Crown Court on the first day of his trial.

Prosecutor Mr Gordon Cole QC said that the little girl had received ‘extensive injuries’ at the hands of her father, consistent with being ‘repeatedly punched’ or ‘repeatedly slammed against a hard surface’.

Florence was taken to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport but was pronounced dead at 8.38pm on July 29 2015.

Judge Kerr added: ‘You battered her to death, her injuries were horrifying.

Undated Greater Manchester Police handout photo of Matthew Higham, who has admitted murdering his 16-day-old daughter after beating her to death in a bloodied and "sustained physical assault" at their home. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 12, 2016. Higham, 23, pleaded guilty to killing Florence Liberty Mae Higham at Preston Crown Court on the first day of his trial. See PA story COURTS Baby. Photo credit should read: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Matthew Higham has been jailed for a minimum of 25 years (Picture: PA/GMP)
‘It was a crime of such unspeakable violence it is difficult to understand how any human being could do such a thing.

‘You say you do not remember doing it. Whether or not that is true, by your plea of guilty to the murder of your baby daughter you have accepted, very late, that you inflicted those injuries on her with the intention of killing her or doing her really serious harm.’

The court was told that Higham had been looking after the baby whilst Florence’s mother Sharon Collins visited a sick relative in hospital.

Mr Cole said that Higham was to make an emergency 999 call at 8.06pm saying that his daughter was ‘bleeding out of her nose, mouth and ears’ but denied that Florence had sustained any trauma whilst with him.

He initially described to police how Florence had begun to bleed as he fed her, before stopping breathing.

Higham has maintained that he has no account of what happened or how he caused the injuries which included multiple skull and rib fractures, facial injuries and bruising, resulting in acute brain damage.

Undated family handout photo of Sharon Collins holding her daughter Florence Liberty Mae Higham. The baby's father has admitted murdering his 16-day-old daughter after beating her to death in a bloodied and "sustained physical assault" at their home. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 12, 2016. Matthew Higham, 23, of Shaw Road South, Shaw Heath, Stockport, Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty to killing Florence Liberty Mae Higham at Preston Crown Court on the first day of his trial. See PA story COURTS Baby. Photo credit should read: Family handout/Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Sharon Collins holding daughter Florence Liberty Mae Higham shortly after she was born (Picture: PA)
She also suffered internal injuries and organ damage including a lacerated liver.

Mr Cole said: ‘It’s right to say that Florence died as a result of these multiple injuries. Stating the obvious, a newborn baby is completely dependent on parents.

‘These injuries reveal the extent of the injuries extending towards Florence by her father. Still there is no account from him as to how he caused these injuries. The injuries sustained were extensive and of course would have had no chance of recovery.’


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