The trial of a father accused of murdering his baby daughter has started at Preston Crown Court.
She was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where a CT scan showed a brain injury, and was later transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where she died on Sunday, December 6.
A post mortem examination found Willow had sustained a serious traumatic head injury consistent with being sustained during an assault and in keeping with forceful shaking and a probable impact to the head, and pathologists concluded the degree of force required to sustain the head injury was considerable and would have caused immense pain and suffering to the baby.
Willow’s father Jordan Lee, 28, of Onslow Road, denies her murder.
It is alleged the moment of impact had been caught on audio in a Snapchat video recorded by Lee’s brother Daniel, who had become concerned about the dad’s conduct towards the crying baby throughout the day.
Lee claims the baby rolled off the sofa and hit her head on a glass milkshake bottle, while he was playing an X Box game, but the prosecution argues the injury is not consistent with his account.
Prosecuting, David McLachlan QC told jurors it was a “very sad case”.
He added: “It is the prosecution case, but we accept it is a matter for you to decide and no one else, that Jordan Lee, the man in the dock, was responsible for the death of his daughter. The prosecution case is, to put it bluntly, that he murdered his own daughter, specifically on December 3 last year he assaulted her with a murderous intent and that ultimately led to her death.
“The responsibility rests fairly and squarely on the prosecution’s shoulders and you must not convict him unless at the conclusion of the case you are satisfied so that you are sure.”
The court heard Willow, who was not been a planned baby, lived in a two bedroomed house with Lee, her mum Jade Bell, who works as a acre assistant, and Lee’s brother Daniel.
On December 1 Jade finished work early because Willow Lee was being sick at her mother’s home, but a subsequent doctor’s consultation deemed her to be “alert and happy”.
On December 3, Willow woke up at 4am and was given a bottle by her mum, who later went to work
The couple exchanged various texts, but at 1.18pm Lee’s brother sent her a Messenger message which said: ” He is seriously not fit to be a father. I feel sorry for Willow.”
After the mum responded, he replied: ” She been pretty much crying all day and he’s getting really angry and shouting at her”
He added he “didn’t want to scare you or anything” but when he had offered to help Lee he “literally picked her up by the ankle and said here you go” but then put her back down.
Their next door neighbour was also so concerned at hearing Lee shouting at the baby that she texted her dad.
Willow’s mum sent texts back to Danile Lee, with one reading: ” Please please make sure he doesn’t hurt her in any way” and “Please just make sure my baby is safe Dan.”
Jurors were told at 5pm Daniel Lee could hear Jordan Lee shouting words to the effect of ‘Will you shut up?’
When he offered to take Willow off his brother so he could calm down he replied: “If I can’t stop her from crying what are you going to do about it?”
Daniel continued to hear him shouting downstairs and went on to record a series of Snapchat recordings between 5.32 and 6.04pm in which a baby can be heard crying.
Mr McLachlan added: ” On that last occasion, and you will hear a thud, Willow stopped crying.
“The prosecution say that was the moment in essence, the significant moment that led to the loss of her life a few days later.
“Jordan Lee was then heard to say ‘Willow, Willow, Willow what’s the matter’?”
The court heard he ran up to his brother with Willow in his hands, unresponsive and her head was floppy.