Father jailed for killing daughter in fury at failed football bet

Judge condemns 'nasty outbreak of temper' which killed five-week-old

A father has been found guilty of killing his daughter in a rage over a football match, and jailed for 10 years.

Mark Lackenby, 32, had a bet on Arsenal beating Barcelona with Robin van Persie scoring the first goal, in their Champions League clash on February 16 2011. As he watched the match with the infant, her mother was upstairs in the bath.

When David Villa put the Spanish side ahead 11 minutes in, he lashed out at five-week-old Ruby, leaving her with injuries which would later prove fatal.

Today in Sheffield Crown Court, he was also found guilty of causing Ruby grievous bodily harm when he broke her ribs a week or so before the fatal attack.

He was cleared of murdering his daughter at their home in Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire but was found guilty of her manslaughter by a jury of 10 women and two men.

Now of Bolton-upon-Dearne, South Yorkshire, he had denied hurting Ruby. But today he was in tears as the judge described what had happened.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said: "It's frankly despicable and defies belief that anyone could do such a thing to their own baby in such circumstances.

"That evening you badly lost your temper with this tiny baby and the football simultaneously.

"You settled down to watch this football match. At 8.11pm that evening David Villa, a Barcelona player, scored the first goal.

"At around that time Ruby was heard to cry.

"It's abundantly clear that at that moment you shook her violently, causing catastrophic brain and nerve injuries which led her to collapse very quickly.

"Despite the best efforts of the paramedics who were on the scene very, very quickly and the marvellous care and attention by the various doctors who attended to Ruby at Barnsley and then Sheffield Children's Hospital, sadly Ruby's life support machine had to be switched off 24 hours later."

Witnesses said Lackenby, who has three other children from a previous relationship, was a loving and caring father. But the judge said there was evidence he had harmed Ruby on other occasions.

He said the tragic incident "was the result of a nasty outbreak of temper on your part and that it was a growing pattern of abusive behaviour by you towards your daughter, Ruby".

Lackenby wiped tears away a number of times during the judge's remarks.

After he stood and was sentenced to 10 years in prison he shook his head slightly but then thanked the judge as he was led away.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada