Man jailed for shaking 3-month-old grandchild to death

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Wayne William Downing of Perth, Australia was reportedly exhausted on the day his three-month-old grandson’s cries woke him up. Disturbed, Downing shook the infant Noah for a few seconds. The rage-fuelled act caused severe damage to the infant’s body resulting in his death. Even though the death of the child was unintentional, Downing pleaded guilty to charges against him. The court sentenced the grieving grandparent to seven and a half years in prison for the incident that took place in May 2016.

When Noah’s mother went to check on her child, she found him unresponsive. She informed emergency services but was already cold and blue when his mother found him. The child was pronounced dead. Police launched an investigation into Noah’s sudden death.

A post mortem examination of the child’s body revealed that he had suffered traumatic injuries to his brain and spine.

Initially, Downing denied responsibility for his grandchild’s death. A year after the incident took place, Downing admitted his actions during an interview with investigators. He told the investigators that he was frustrated by the child’s cries and was extremely tired. Not thinking straight, he picked the child up and shook him for five to six seconds. After shaking Noah, Downing noticed that the child’s head had become limp. Even though he noticed that there was something wrong with Noah, he did not contact emergency services. Downing did nothing to raise an alarm after fatally injuring the baby.

Western Australia Supreme Court sentenced Downing on Wednesday, July 29, years since Noah’s death. Justice Anthony Derrick stated that the accused had not been abusive towards his grandchild on previous occasions. He said that the grandfather did love the baby and did not intend to cause harm to him. However, Derrick also noted that the defendant did not seek help after Noah became unresponsive. Downing was initially charged with murder but eventually, he pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison of which he has to serve five before being eligible for parole.

Downing’s family, including Noah’s mother, was at the court offering their support, Perth Now reported.


Man shook his grandchild to death for waking him up with cries. (Representational image)
Janko Ferlič/ Unsplash