Father accused of baby's murder claimed she had hit her head in car

Christopher Easey is on trial accused of the murder of his three-month-old daughter Eleanor.

Christopher Easey is going on trial at Norwich Crown Court accused of the murder of his three-month-old daughter Eleanor. - Credit: Brittany Woodman, Archant Norfolk

A father accused of the murder of his three-month-old baby said she had hit her head after he had to brake hard whilst driving, a court has heard.

Christopher Easey, 31, is on trial at Norwich Crown Court, charged with the murder of his daughter, Eleanor.

Paramedics found her "pale, floppy and lethargic" after they were called to her Morton on the Hill home, near Lenwade at about 8.25pm on December 18, 2019. 

Morton on the Hill. PIC: Peter Walsh.

Morton on the Hill. PIC: Peter Walsh. - Credit: Archant

She was later transferred to Addenbrooke's in Cambridge where she died on December 20 2019 as the result of a catastrophic brain injury. 

The prosecution asserts Eleanor died as a result of an "inflicted, non-accidental injury" by her father Christopher while her mother, Carly Easey, allowed the death to occur.

Carly Easey who is going on trial having been accused of causing or allowing the death of a child, and neglect.

Carly Easey who is going on trial at Norwich Crown Court having been accused of causing or allowing the death of a child, and neglect. - Credit: Brittany Woodman, Archant Norfolk

On Friday (January 21) Thomas Oakley, bar manager at the Ffolkes Hotel at Hillington, where Carly Easey worked as a waitress, gave evidence.

He spoke about discussions he had with Christopher Easey after driving the defendant's wife to hospital to be with Eleanor on December 18, 2019.

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Mr Oakley told Oliver Wellings, prosecuting alongside Sally Howes QC, Christopher had told him about an incident when he had to "brake abruptly" with Eleanor in the car seat at the time.

Following the incident, which happened as Christopher Easey was returning to Morton on the Hill with Eleanor after having dropped Carly off at work on December 18 2019, Christopher Easey said he had "braked hard causing her to hit her head backwards".

However, during a conversation Mr Oakley had with Christopher Easey at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Mr Oakley said he was also told by Christopher that Eleanor "hit her head on the bars of her cot".

Mr Oakley later dropped the couple back at their Morton on the Hill home so they could pick up their car to drive to Addenbrooke's where Eleanor was being transferred to.

While Mr Oakley was there he was shown the kitchen work surface where Christopher Easey had performed CPR on Eleanor after, according to the defence, 'he found the baby slumped in her baby chair in the kitchen'.

In cross examination, Sally O'Neill, defending Christopher Easey, said the defendant had been "very troubled in case, for some reason, it was his fault".

Mr Oakley replied: "Correct".

In cross examination, Elizabeth Marsh QC, defending Carly Easey, said nothing about Carly's behaviour with Eleanor gave you cause for concern.

He replied "No".

The jury of six men and six women also heard from Carl Godfrey, general manager of the Ffolkes Hotel where Carly Easey worked.

He described how when Carly brought Eleanor into work he "never dared" pick her up as "she just looked life she would break in half".

Earlier the court heard a statement from Deborah Godfrey, a chef at the Ffolkes Hotel who thought of Eleanor as a "miracle baby" as "Carly told me she couldn't have children".

She said that during the summer of 2019 Carly had "put a bit of weight on" but told her she had been to the doctors and was told it was due to water retention.

Mrs Godfrey said: "She would get upset when people said she looked pregnant. She said she had done many pregnancy tests but they had all come back negative".

Mrs Godfrey said it was a "shock" when her husband told her Carly had gone into labour as she "was under the impression she couldn't get pregnant and hadn't said that she was".

She described Eleanor as being "lovely and bubbly" with "happy parents".

Mrs Godfrey said she told Carly "You didn't think you were going to have her, now you're going to have to make the most of it. She's a little miracle baby".

Christopher Easey, of Ely Road, Little Thetford, Ely, has denied murdering Eleanor and a charge of cruelty to a person under 16.

Carly Easey, 36, of Elizabeth Drive, Chedburgh, has denied causing or allowing the death of a child and a charge of cruelty to a person under 16.

The trial continues.