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Father on murder charge talks of cocaine use

Ross Conlin, from Farnborough, has admitted wanting more time before having a child, as he addressed the jury

Winchester Crown Court
Winchester Crown Court

A father accused of murdering his baby daughter has admitted he wanted to be more financially secure before having a child.

Ross Conlin, 29, from Farnborough, allegedly shook four-month-old Kiera so violently while left alone with her, that she had a heart attack and stopped breathing.

He denies murder and three charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Kiera’s mother, Kelly-Marie Rayner, 26, was cleared on Tuesday July 1 of causing or allowing the death of a child.

At the trial at Winchester Crown Court, jurors had previously heard how the pair had been to stay with Ms Rayner’s parents last year and, while alone with Kiera, Conlin called for paramedics after she stopped breathing.

Paramedics revived the youngster and took her to Frimley Park Hospital and she was transferred to Southampton General Hospital for expert treatment.

Despite the treatment, she was pronounced brain dead and a life support machine was turned off on May 7 last year and Kiera died in her mother’s arms.

Conlin told paramedics she had been choking, however post mortem tests showed she had suffered three skull fractures and a rib fracture three to five days before her death, plus bleeding behind her eyes.

Kiera also suffered spinal injuries consistent with rapid movement of her head and shoulders.

The court heard on July 1 that Ms Rayner wanted to have a child with Conlin in early 2012 and financial records showed she was in debt and the amount had reached £17,000 at the time of Kiera’s death.

Giving evidence, Conlin said: “I’m more of a realist and I would have preferred to be in a more stable position before we tried.

“I just wanted to be a bit more comfortable but when we agreed to start trying, she was already pregnant.”

Up until that point, the couple had split up several times since meeting each other as co-workers at RBS in 2007.

Conlin also spoke of the lifestyle he led until he moved in with Ms Rayner.

“I’ve never been a drink-at-home person but I would go out every weekend and binge. I would smoke cannabis every day – usually one or two joints in the evening – but I cut down on that after moving in with Kelly.

“If I was going out I would take cocaine, sometimes once or twice a month, but never at home.”

Conlin had also taken to dating sites just 13 weeks before Kiera was due.

Prosecutor David Richards went through more than 500 text messages sent between the couple and to their family and friends. Some showed Ms Rayner stood by her man in the immediate aftermath of the baby’s death.

She messaged Conlin saying: “I wish I could be there for you every night. I know 100% you wouldn’t harm my gorgeous baby girl.

“You are my soul mate, I love you and you are the best dad in the world.”

Both she and Conlin had deleted messages sent between them, however some parts have since been recovered by police.

They revealed how Conlin struggled to care for Kiera when left alone with her and he even joked about selling her on eBay on one stressful occasion.

Just a week before her death, he complained to Ms Rayner: “She is a moany bitch LOL she has cut her eye already.”

The trial continues.

 

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