‘Callous’ father who broke baby’s neck launched Facebook fundraiser to gain sympathy

Baby killer Michael Davis had begged for cash for a Facebook fundraiser for Sands - a charity helping grieving parents

Barney Davis
Thursday 11 April 2024 21:02 BST
Michael Davis has been convicted of murdering his five-week-old baby (Handout/PA)
Michael Davis has been convicted of murdering his five-week-old baby (Handout/PA) (PA Media)

A “callous” father who broke his own four-week-old son’s neck before leaving him to die in his cot begged Facebook friends for donations “in an attempt to paint a sympathetic picture of himself” as a grieving father.

Michael Davis, who was this week jailed for a minimum of 22 years for killing Ollie Davis, started a birthday fundraiser on his Facebook page for Sands, a national charity that exists to reduce the number of babies dying and to support anyone affected by the death of a baby, in 2021 – four years after he murdered his son.

Ollie was pronounced dead after being found lifeless in his cot in October 2017, having also sustained fractures to his skull, collar bone, both arms and the joints of all his limbs.

Sentencing Davis at Leicester Crown Court to a life term on Wednesday, Mr Justice Cotter said the murder of Ollie had involved a “devastating” fatal spinal injury inflicted up to eight days before death.

Ollie’s mother, Kayleigh Driver, 31, was jailed for seven years for causing or allowing the death of a child and serious physical injury after the judge accepted she did not cause any of her son’s injuries.

But the pair were initially on bail while they were investigated by police and were free to post messages on social media about the death of their son, as well as declare their love for each other.

Ollie Davis, whose father Michael Davis has been sentenced to serve a minimum term of 22 years for his murder (Leicestershire Police/PA)
Ollie Davis, whose father Michael Davis has been sentenced to serve a minimum term of 22 years for his murder (Leicestershire Police/PA) (PA Media)

The charity said they were “angry and upset” that Davis had appealed for donations despite knowing what he had done, and said it was an apparent attempt to portray a “sympathetic picture”.

Sands’ chief executive Clea Harmer said: “We are horrified at the appalling crime committed by Michael Davis, who murdered his baby son Ollie.

“We are angry and upset to learn that he then cynically appealed for donations to Sands, apparently in an attempt to paint a sympathetic picture of himself.

“Our investigations have confirmed that no donations were made through this channel.

“The news reports around the sentencing are deeply distressing, especially for anyone who has experienced pregnancy or baby loss, and we are here to provide comfort and support to anyone who needs this.”

(Leicestershire Police/PA Wire)

Sentencing Davis to a life term on Wednesday, Mr Justice Cotter said the murder of Ollie had involved a “devastating” fatal spinal injury inflicted up to eight days before death.

Davis, who was living in Upper Temple Walk, Leicester, with Driver when Ollie was killed, was told he had shown “callous indifference” by opting not to summon medical help.

Ollie Davis was discovered with a ‘snapped’ neck and more than 20 broken ribs
Ollie Davis was discovered with a ‘snapped’ neck and more than 20 broken ribs (Matthew Cooper/PA Wire)

The judge, sitting at Loughborough Court, said medical experts had confirmed that Ollie suffered 23 rib fractures and other injuries usually seen after a “high energy car crash”.

After saying he was sure that Davis had caused all the injuries during four separate overnight “episodes” of violence, Mr Justice Cotter added: “At least five different mechanisms were required to cause this terrible array of injuries.

“Michael Davis, I have no doubt that during the night you became frustrated and angry, and this led to terrible violence.

“You assaulted him on multiple occasions. The attacks in their various forms were also brutal – in particular the fatal neck injury.”

The prosecution of the couple was delayed by complex medical evidence and health issues suffered by Driver, who appeared for sentence on a mobility scooter due to a chronic neurological condition.

Ricky Driver, Ollie’s grandfather, said in a statement prepared for the sentencing hearing: “On the 21 October 2017 we were awaken to the sad news of Ollie’s sudden death and concluded that it was a probably a cot death. A day none of us will forget.

“After further examination by experts, we were horrified to find out there were suspicious circumstances regarding Ollie`s death.

“The police arrested Kayleigh and Michael for questioning – this shook the family to the core. Over time the injuries were made public, and we couldn’t believe what we were being told.

“Ollie was perfect in every way when he was born. He had been beaten badly over time and was left to die with his injuries.

“This was our worst nightmare. How could anybody hurt a beautiful baby was beyond words.

“We felt sick to our stomachs, and we have shed many a tear thinking what Ollie went through in his final days.”

The statement described the actions which led to Ollie’s death as “evil” and also said the wider family had been “dragged through hell for nearly seven years, with all the lies and deceit.”

Speaking to reporters outside court, Davis’s mother, Paula Wright, said Ollie had been a “special little diamond” and “the sweetest boy you could ever meet.”

Claiming she believed her son had not caused Ollie’s injuries, Ms Wright added: “I think he’s innocent – he’s not even got a temper on him.”

Addressing reporters outside court, Detective Inspector Mark Parish said: “At the heart of this complex investigation has always been to try to get justice for Ollie.

“He was let down in the most horrendous ways imaginable.

“Due to the amount of injuries Ollie suffered, and the medical expertise needed to examine those injuries, it has taken more than six years for this investigation to come to court and for Ollie’s parents to be held accountable.”

Andrew Baxter, deputy chief crown prosecutor from the CPS said: “Rather than face up to their actions, both parents lied repeatedly about events, and have left it to a jury to determine the horrifying way they treated Ollie.

“Ollie’s death at such a young age came as a devastating shock to his extended family. Our thoughts and sympathies are with them.”

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