UPDATED: Baby murder dad on trial

News update
News update

DOCTORS giving evidence in the trial of Richard Barnes – who is accused of killing his baby daughter by stamping on or crushing her head – told a court almost every bone in her skull was broken.

Dr Karen Stone, consultant paediatrician for Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday she was called to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield at around 9.30pm on November 19 to care for eight-week-old Grace Mya Barnes.

Dr Stone said after viewing a scan of the infant’s head it was apparent she had suffered “extensive injury and all the bones in her skull apart from the front were broken.”

She added: “There was lots of bleeding in the brain, around the outside of the brain and in the brain tissue itself.”

Dr Philip Lumb, forensic pathologist, told jurors today he found extensive bruising and fractures to Grace’s skull, particularly the back of the head which was “distorted” and “wobbly”.

He said: “There were a substantial number of fractures on the left side and at the back, and large fractures rotating right across the top of the skull into the other side.

“There was severe damage to the head which has caused massive brain injury and swelling.”

After the Express went to print on Wednesday, friends and relatives gave evidence stating Barnes was “over the moon” at becoming a dad and his drinking had “calmed down” since Grace’s birth.

Grace’s mother, Stephanie Rudd, 25, told the court she had spent much of November 19 with her mother Rinatre Rhodes, and Barnes had spent the day with friends while their daughter was being cared for by his parents, Kevin and Lynne Barnes.

Later that evening, Miss Rudd offered to drive Mrs Rhodes back to her home in Featherstone leaving Barnes – who had drunk six miniature bottles of whisky and vodka and two beers during the day – alone with their daughter for 20 minutes.

When she returned she was told by Barnes that the baby had been sick and to stop her choking he had picked her up and they had “banged heads”.

Grace was taken to Pinderfields Hospital and Barnes was arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm with intent, but the charge was changed to murder after Grace died in the early hours of November 24.

Yesterday the defendant’s father Mr Barnes told the court his son told him that he “fell” on Grace. Also giving evidence, his mother Mrs Barnes said on the day her son was re-arrested he tried to commit suicide.

Witness, Nichola Royal, a forensic custody nurse, told jurors she assessed Barnes in the police cells after his suicide attempt.

She said he was making statements about wanting to die and wanting a gun or tablets to kill himself, then said “I don’t know why I had done it.”

She added: “He said he had stood up and they banged heads and that he fell on top of her on the floor. Then he said he woke up with the baby still underneath him.”

The trial continues. For more on this story, see next week’s Express.