Father 'smothered baby who kept crying'
A father smothered his six-week-old baby to death after he became frustrated with her tears, a court heard today.
David Riches, 46, allegedly killed his daughter Melanin almost 20 years ago by pushing her face down into the upholstery on the sofa in their family home.
Jurors at Norwich Crown Court heard that Riches allegedly confessed to the crime when he met up with his estranged son in 2007.
Riches, formerly of Norwich, Norfolk, but who now lives in Pezens, France, denies killing his daughter on July 3, 1985.
Prosecuting, Sally Howes, QC, said that at the time doctors believed that Melanin died as a result of cot death.
She said: "There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death that were reported to the coroner's officer.
"A post mortem concluded sudden infant death syndrome. That was how the episode remained until 2007."
Ms Howes told the court that by chance Melanin's brother Micah, now 21, reunited with his father in summer 2007 after years apart.
She said the pair talked about the death of Melanin and how Riches behaved towards Micah.
Micah sent Riches a text message asking exactly what happened the day Melanin died.
Ms Howes said Riches replied saying that he picked Melanin up after she started crying. When she would not stop he put her face between the arm and the seat of the sofa.
"He told Micah he had done some really bad things when he was younger and he had put them behind him but he was really sorry and he had changed," said Ms Howes.
Eventually Micah decided to go to the police.
"The police investigation unearthed a catalogue of abuse towards women and children," said Ms Howes.
"His reign of callous cruelty that lasted for almost two decades and began with the murder of baby Melanin."
The court heard that Riches was "unpleasant" when he heard that his first wife was pregnant with Micah.
Jurors were told that when he was born in June 1988, Riches used to put his cot in a cupboard and complain whenever he heard the baby wail.
Ms Howes said that Riches would quieten Micah by putting his hand over his mouth and pinching his nose. She said Riches did this so the baby would struggle and tire and eventually go to sleep.
Micah also suffered a fractured skull as a child which was a result of an attack from his father, said Ms Howes.
Riches denies murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter. He also denies five counts of child cruelty and six assaults. The charges relate to a number of women and children.
The trial continues.
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked 4Chan photos
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127