Teenager murdered baby boy by shaking him to death

A teenager has been found guilty of murdering a baby boy by shaking him to death.

Elijah Shemwell died on 5 January, 2022, three days after he was found to be pale, limp and drowsy at his mother's home in Belper, Derbyshire.

Carl Alesbrook, who was 16 at the time, was in a relationship with Elijah's mother India Shemwell and had been alone looking after the child in her flat.

Alesbrook, now 19, denied harming four-month old Elijah but was convicted after a trial at Derby Crown Court.

Jurors returned returned their verdict on Thursday after nearly 10 hours of deliberation.

They also found Alesbrook, of Upper Greenhill Gardens, Matlock, guilty of a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent.

The court had heard Elijah - known as Eli - suffered whiplash-type injuries and multiple bone fractures.

After reaching its decision, the jury was informed Shemwell, 23, had earlier admitted two charges of neglect in relation to her son.

The trial had previously heard she had gone out to shop, leaving Elijah in Alesbrook’s care at her flat.

Prosecutors told the trial they believed Alesbrook, who had been smoking cannabis, had become angry because Elijah was unsettled and crying, and shook him, causing catastrophic brain injuries that led to his premature death.

The court was also told Alesbrook, had caused rib and limb fractures to Eli one or two days before he was admitted to hospital.

Jurors were told Eli had bruises and fractures to his torso which were indicative of forceful gripping.

The court heard Alesbrook had denied ever shaking Eli and told police Shemwell must have caused the injuries.

Prosecutors said although Shemwell, who was 21 when her son died, was "a thoroughly inadequate mother who neglected Elijah", it was not their case that she caused any of his injuries.

They said Shemwell, of Rose Hill Street, Derby, both generally and specifically neglected Eli and failed to seek prompt medical attention for him on both 1 and 2 January.

The trial had heard Alesbrook had met Shemwell seven weeks before he caused the fatal injuries to Eli and they began a sexual relationship.

Jurors were told Shemwell's sexual relationship with her baby's father, who she was separated from, may have caused Alesbrook "some understandable frustration at the uncertainty of the status of his relationship" with her.

The prosecution also alleged that a toothache suffered by Alesbrook at the time caused him to "lose his temper" with Elijah.

He had denied this and said that he enjoyed looking after Eli.

Judge Jeremy Baker said Alesbrook and Shemwell would be sentenced at a future date yet to be set.

He told Alesbrook: "There is only one sentence that can be imposed but part of that sentence will be a determination of the minimum term that you will have to serve."

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