Father faces life in prison for killing eight-week old baby daughter

Michael Roe guilty of killing baby daughter Holly in Sussex
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Michael Roe guilty of killing baby daughter Holly in Sussex.

A DAD has been found guilty of shaking his baby daughter to death after watching porn and smoking cannabis in his shed.

Michael Roe faces life in prison for the murder of his premature baby daughter Holly at his home in Alderbrook Road, Crowborough.

The 32-year-old shook her more than once, leading to her death from head injuries and broken ribs in September 2018.

A jury at Hove Crown Court found Holly’s mother Tiffany Tate, 22, guilty of allowing her death for turning a blind eye to the abuse.

She wept as friends and family comforted her outside court.

Tragic Holly was born on July 14, 2018, two months early by emergency caesarian section and had to be resuscitated.

The Argus: Tiffany Tate and Michael Roe with baby Holly
Tiffany Tate and Michael Roe with baby Holly

The infant was discharged from hospital on August 9.

Within a few weeks she was dead from injuries caused by violent, abusive shaking, the court heard.

The rib fractures would have been extremely painful and Holly would have been severely distressed, Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, said.

Tate told police she thought her baby was absolutely fine just hours before her baby died.

Tiffany Tate turned a blind eye, Sally Howes QC told the jury.

The jury heard the case was a retrial. At the previous trial, the court was told Roe kept a collection of sex toys in his shed.

Police photographs of his shed were shown to the jury.

The Argus: Michael Roe has been found guilty
Michael Roe has been found guilty

Lewis Power QC, representing him, asked Roe to explain what the images show.

Roe explained how the shed was full of sex toys, but claimed he wasn’t using them.

The court heard how he smoked at least two cannabis joints every night.

Tate said Roe woke her at 1.30am saying: “Holly’s cold, she’s not breathing.”

Former foster child Tiffany Tate was only 19 when she moved in with Michael Roe.

They lived together at Alderbrook Road in Crowborough, East Sussex when baby Holly was born two months premature.

Ms Tate admitted she had trouble bonding with her daughter while she was still in the premature baby unit which continued after Holly was allowed home.

When the baby cried, she became frustrated and panicked, Ms Howes said.

Michael Roe took over night feeds as Tiffany Tate had no patience with Holly, the court heard.

Mr Roe fed the baby after smoking a cannabis joint on the night she died, the court heard.

Emergency services were called to the house in the early hours of Monday, September 10, 2018 after the couple reported she was having breathing difficulties.

Holly was found to be cold, not breathing and with no heart activity at all, Ms Howes said.

Michael Roe told police something startled him.

“He felt Holly’s head and it was cold. He then felt her chest and it was warm.

“He carried out a test for reflex, there was none. He woke Tiffany Tate and gave two rescue breaths to Holly but she did not respond.

“Michael Roe rang the emergency services for an ambulance,” Ms Howes said.

Paramedics battled to save her before she was taken to Pembury Hospital in Tunbridge Wells where she was pronounced dead.

The Argus: Tiffany Tate
Tiffany Tate

Port mortem examinations showed numerous signs of injury on her tiny body.

Eight-week-old Holly had suffered head injuries on three different occasions before her death and 12 rib fractures.

Holly died on September 10, 2018.

Roe had no patience with his daughter and lost his temper at feeding times, Ms Howes told the jury.

“Michael Roe knew exactly what he was doing,” she said.

Roe and Tate will be sentenced on Friday.

Mr Justice Edward Murray said: “Tiffany Tate, you have been found guilty and you will be sentenced on Friday.

“You are on bail but subject to conditions.

“Michael Roe you are remanded in custody until 10am on Friday.”