A WA father who killed his six-month old daughter by shaking her then throwing her to the ground because she would not “shut up” has been jailed for life.
Little Isabella Martin suffered “catastrophic” brain injuries after her father Arron Colin Martin, 37, “just snapped” at the family’s Brookdale home in November 2017.
Martin, a former baker, had been looking after his daughter that day following his night shift at Coles when he “momentarily lost control and threw her forcefully to the floor”.
In handing down Martin’s sentence, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Hall said this was a “terribly tragic case” that involved a man who had no history of violence and who had tried to be a good husband and father before the events of that day.
He said he was satisfied Martin did not intend to kill his daughter when he threw her to the ground but did intend to cause her bodily harm adding that he threw her with such force it caused widespread haemorrhaging, three fractures to her skull as well as brain swelling.
The court was told the six-month-old was alive for up to five hours after the incident however it was not suggested she would have survived had she received immediate medical attention because of the extent of her head injuries.
“In my view you became frustrated and angry that she was continuing to cry which was exacerbated by tiredness,” Justice Hall said. “You caused her serious injuries.”
Justice Hall said Martin’s failure to call for help immediately after robbed Isabella’s mother Nicole Martin of the opportunity to say goodbye to her daughter.
He said in her victim impact statement Ms Martin said he had taken the most precious thing in her life away and that she struggles every day without her.
He also said she felt a sense of guilt and questioned if she could have done anything to have prevented what happened.
During the trial, Martin told the hearing he loved his “beautiful child” and in the weeks before her death was sleep deprived.
He denied he intended to kill her telling the trial that he only “dropped” her that day.
The court also heard he tried to take his own life after he realised something was wrong with Isabella.
“I don’t know what came over me. I picked her up, shook her and dropped her on the floor,” Martin said at the trial.
“I picked her up, told her I was sorry. I didn’t deserve to live.”
But in determining the sentence, Justice Hall said he did not accept Martin’s claim that he dropped her, saying Isabella’s injuries were caused by blunt force trauma.
He said he took into account Martin’s genuine remorse, age and the fact he had handed himself into police after it happened.
But he said his failure to call for help after and Isabella’s vulnerability were aggravating factors.
“Babies are reliant on the love and care of parents,” he said. “You had sole care of her that day. She was utterly vulnerable and dependent on your care.
“No sentence I impose can undo the damage you have done or heal the hurt you have caused.”
Justice Hall sentenced Martin to life and ordered he serve a minimum of 12 years backdated to his arrest in November 2017.