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Father jailed for life for murdering four-month-old baby

Jury convicts Farnborough father Ross Conlin of killing his baby daughter Kiera after shaking her "violently"

Hampshire Constabulary
Ross Conlin, who was convicted of murdering his baby daughter

A father from Farnborough has been found guilty of murdering his four-month-old baby.

A jury at Winchester Crown Court convicted 29-year-old Ross Conlin of murder at 12.10pm on Friday (July 11) following a five-week trial.

Two hours later the Honourable Mr Justice Royce gave Conlin an automatic life sentence with a recommendation he serve 17-and-a-half years.

The jury ruled Conlin killed the tragic toddler as a result of severely shaking her.

Following the conviction, Wessex CPS senior crown prosecutor Julia Woodward said: “Kiera Conlin was only four months when she died at the hands of the man who was supposed to protect her throughout her life, her father Ross Conlin.

“The jury at Winchester Crown Court heard how the medical experts concluded that she was shaken violently and may have also suffered a further head impact.

"They described the nature of the violent shaking she suffered as a recognised triad of injuries found in such cases – bleeding to the brain, brain injury due to loss of oxygen supply and retinal haemorrhaging.

"She also suffered spinal injuries consistent with rapid movement. Her injuries were so severe that she became unconscious, she never recovered and died the following day.

“Ross Conlin lied in evidence stating that his daughter started to choke on her vomit after she refused to drink the bottle of milk he was giving her."

© Solent News & Photo Agency Kiera Conlin was murdered by her father, Ross, in May 2013
Kiera Conlin was murdered by her father, Ross, in May 2013
 

She added: "The prosecution case was that Ross Conlin inflicted serious injuries to Kiera in the period leading up to the fatal event and that he murdered her on May 6, 2013.

“The jury heard that the tension between the couple and the fact that Ross Conlin had issues at work, money problems and was a cocaine and drug user, contributed without any doubts with his struggle to care for his daughter and added to his anger when she was difficult to care for.

“Today, after hearing the prosecution and the defence case, the jury decided that Ross Conlin was guilty of killing Kiera.

“We would like to thank all the witnesses who gave evidence in this case and our thoughts are with Kiera’s family.”

Conlin had denied murder and three charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

But the court heard Kiera suffered a fractured skull, rib fractures and injuries to her spinal cord - allegedly caused by vigorous shaking - in the lead up to her death.

Giving evidence during the trial, he said the day Kiera died was the day 'everything fell apart'.

Conlin had offered to look after his daughter while his partner, Kelly-Marie Rayner, 26, went to get her nails done ahead of a party.

She was cleared of causing or allowing the death of her baby daughter on Tuesday July 1.

Kelly-Marie Rayner was cleared of causing or allowing the death of her four-month-old daughter
Kelly-Marie Rayner was cleared of causing or allowing the death of her four-month-old daughter

The court heard that fair-haired Kiera suffered subdural bleeding and retinal haemorrhaging which caused her to stop breathing and have a heart attack.

The jury was also told that Conlin failed to bond with Kiera and that he had wanted to be more financially secure before having a child.

After the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Scott Clark from Hampshire Constabulary welcomed the verdict, describing it as a harrowing and difficult experience for those involved.

"Kiera’s death was at the hands of a man whom she most relied and depended upon for love and the most basic care," he said.

"She was abused and horrendously let down by this man – her father.

“Without the abhorrent behaviour of her father, Kiera would still be alive today.

“I would like thank the entire investigation team and the many medical professionals and specialists for all their hard work and dedication in bringing this case to an appropriate conclusion.

“I would also like to personally thank Kiera’s extended family for their understanding and patience during what must have been one of the most challenging times of their lives.”

 
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