Frustrated father shook daughter to death because she was screaming too loudly as he played 'Assassin's Creed'

Mark Sandland killed his five-week-old daughter and lied to try and cover it up, claiming to have suffered 'an epileptic fit' and woken up on top of her

A man has been jailed for eight years after he killed his baby daughter because she would not stop screaming when he was trying to play a computer game.

Mark Sandland claimed he suffered an epileptic fit while holding five-week-old Aimee-Rose and came round to find himself lying on top of her.

But a court heard that the 28-year-old had actually been playing Assassin’s Creed 3 on his PlayStation at the time and, during a sudden loss of temper, picked up his child by the torso and shook her.

Police who attended Sandland’s flat in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, on 5 November 2012 said they found a PlayStation controller on the sofa opposite the TV, which was turned off.

Prosecutor Sally Howes, QC, said that evidence from his mobile phone showed Sandland had logged on to a website providing a walkthrough guide of how to play the video game at 2.22pm – just 16 minutes before he called 999 to request an ambulance.

The nature of the step-by-step instructions on the site meant there would have been little point to accessing it unless the game was being played at the time, Ms Howes said.

A text sent at around lunchtime from Sandland to Aimee-Rose’s mother, who went to attend her first class at the University of Brighton's Hastings campus at 9.30am said: “She hasn’t shut up since about half an hour after you left.”

Mr Justice Sweeney said: “It's the Crown's case that thereafter, frustrated with the game and with Aimee-Rose screaming, you lost your temper and you assaulted her, gripping her torso hard and violently shaking her.

“Whilst it's impossible to identify the precise detail of what you did, the injuries that you caused Aimee-Rose speak for themselves.”

Sandland had been playing Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed 3 when he killed his daughter in a sudden burst of anger Sandland had been playing Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed 3 when he killed his daughter in a sudden burst of anger Sandland had been charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter on the grounds of lack of intent – a plea which the Crown accepted.

He sobbed in the dock at Hove Crown Court today as Mr Justice Sweeney said he had lied and tried to cover up his actions.

Mr Justice Sweeney told him: “Whilst you have no recollection now of the fatal incident, it's obvious that at the time you appreciated what you had done and in consequence lied and sought to cover up what had actually happened.

“You pretended on the phone that you had a fit. You turned off the television to cover up the fact that you had been on the PlayStation.

“Thereafter you continued to lie and cover up to those who were trying to treat Aimee-Rose, although I stress that they wouldn't have done anything different if you had told the truth, and to the police.”

The baby suffered a range of injuries including bruising to her face, chest, abdomen, hip and lower limbs, as well as subdural haemorrhages in a number of locations.

She was taken to the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards and though a heart-beat was re-established she was unconscious, unresponsive and unable to breathe without the aid of a machine.

She was transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit at King's College Hospital, London, but died four days after the incident on 9 November 2012.

The judge said Sandland’s sentence was aggravated by the fact that he had been in a position of trust over the vulnerable five-week-old, repeatedly lied to cover up his actions and had shown no real remorse throughout the case.

Sandland will serve half of his eight-year sentence, the judge said, after which he will remain on licence.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy