Saturday, 14 January 2017

Father Drops Baby to Death

A teenage father who dropped his baby son on his head was imprisoned for three years after being found guilty of manslaughter.

Christopher Rodaway was just eighteen when he got married to his pregnant girlfriend at Gretna Green in May 1964. His new wife gave birth to a baby boy named Simon in November and the family settled in Holland Place in Edge Hill.

On 2nd March 1965 Mrs Rodaway got  up at about 1pm and found son Simon dead in the living room with her husband nowhere to be seen. A doctor was called but could see no visible sign of injuries and the body was taken to Alder Hey Hospital so a postmortem could be carried out. 

Rodaway was arrested and taken to the bridewell at Prescot Street, where he was initially charged with causing grievous bodily harm after making a full confession. However when this charge was increased to murder after a postmortem revealed a fractured skull, he retracted that statement. 

Rodaway appeared before Mr Justice Stable at the end of May, defended by Rose Heilbron. He pleaded not guilty to murder but agreed that he was responsible for his son's death, telling the jury 'I carried him across the room by the ankles because he was crying. I was going to roll him onto the settee to frighten him and stop him crying but he fell head first onto the floor. I did not mean him to fall. He then said that he had blamed his wife to save his own skin but that she had nothing to do with it.

After the evidence was concluded Rodaway's counsel stated that he would be willing to plead guilty to manslaughter. The judge then directed the jury to acquit him of murder and find him guilty of the lesser charge. Rodaway was then sentenced to three years imprisonment.

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