A man accused of killing a ten-month-old girl in a Christmas Night attack has denied being in a foul mood because he was not able to spend the day with his own children.
James Hunt told a jury he is used to not seeing his two daughters at Christmas time and said he was not irritable in the hours before the fatal injuries were allegedly afflicted.
He insisted he had not shaken little Kimberly Barrett or thrown her down violently to stop her crying when he was left in sole charge of the baby for an hour on Christmas night.
Hunt, aged 30, of Pellinore Road, Exeter, is on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused murdering Kimberly in December 2011.
The prosecution say he caused fatal head injuries when he was left looking after the baby for just an hour while mother Hayley Bradshaw paid a visit to a neighbour who lived on his own.
They say he came to the next door flat asking Hayley to come home and telling her that Kimberly was ‘kicking off’ but that by the time she returned the child had suffered the life-threatening head injuries.
The jury have been told he persuaded Hayley not to check the child at once, saying it would disturb her, so she only found she was ill some hours later.
Kimberly died at the Bristol Children’s Hospital on December 29, 2011 three days after losing consciousness on Boxing Day evening at her mother’s flat in Spencer Court, Ottery St Mary.
Doctors, pathologists and experts called by the prosecution say the child’s combination of brain injuries and bruising to the head can only be explained by a deliberate attack.
Hunt was cross examined by Mr Martin Meeke, QC, prosecuting, and denied that his four-month-long relationship with Hayley was on the rocks by Christmas and she resented that he refused to look for work while she took a part time job at the local Coop.
Mr Meeke asked:”You said you were proud to be a bum?” Hunt replied:”It was not serious. It was a joke. I don’t agree out relationship was going downhill.”
Hunt denied shaking Kimberly on an earlier occasion or being bad tempered or jealous. He said he was not upset at being apart from his own two young daughters, who had visited him on Christmas Eve.
He said he could not remember telling Hayley he would not do anything with her kids after his own had gone home.
Mr Meeke asked:”You were on a downer. Any father would want to have their children on Christmas Day.”
Hunt said:”It was normal for me not to spend Christmas with them. When I was with my ex we’d spend a couple of hours together and then she’d take them off to see her family. She has a lot of relatives. I did not refuse to help with Kimberly at all.”
He denied he had shaken or thrown down the baby because she would not stop crying and said he did not know why she went limp while he was putting her into her cot.
He insisted he had told Hayley that Kimberly had ‘gone floppy’ but denied knowing how seriously ill the baby was.
Mr Meeke said:”You were frightened of what you had done.” Hunt replied:”No, because I had done nothing to her.”