A young father from St Leonards who had been playing Assassin’s Creed 3 on his PlayStation killed his baby daughter after being frustrated by her screaming, a court heard.
Mark Sandland, 28, picked up five-week-old Aimee-Rose by her torso and shook her during a sudden loss of temper, prosecutors said yesterday.
He claimed he had suffered an epileptic fit and came round to find his daughter underneath him at their flat in Church Road.
Lewes Crown Court heard that police who attended the flat after Aimee-Rose was rushed to hospital on November 5 2012 found a PlayStation game controller on the sofa opposite the TV.
Prosecutor Sally Howes QC said: “It’s the Crown’s case that, frustrated by the distraction of Aimee-Rose screaming, the defendant picked her up and gripped her around her torso and shook her in a sudden loss of temper and loss of control.
“Despite his admission that the television was on that morning, by the time the ambulance crew arrived it had been switched off, thus covering up the fact he had been playing the game on his PlayStation.”
Analysis of Sandland’s mobile phone internet history showed a website offering tips on how to play Assassin’s Creed 3 was accessed at 2.22pm, Miss Howes said.
Assassin’s Creed 3 is a 2012 action-adventure video game.
The detail of the website, giving step-by-step instruction, meant there would have been little point accessing it unless the game was being played, she added. Some 16 minutes later, at 2.38pm, Sandland dialled 999.
On that day, Aimee-Rose’s mother was attending her first class for an applied social science degree course at the University of Brighton’s Hastings campus.
During a break at around lunch-time, she sent Sandland a text message asking after Aimee-Rose, to which he replied: “She hasn’t shut up since about half an hour after you left.”
Miss Howes said Sandland called the emergency services, saying he had suffered a seizure and had woken up on top of Aimee-Rose.
When an ambulance crew arrived, Sandland looked “panicked and anxious” and pointed to where she laid in the sitting room, her limbs in a star shape.
He told one member of ambulance staff: “I’m epileptic. I had a fit and when I woke up the baby was underneath me.”
Aimee-Rose was admitted to the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards with brain damage and other injuries including bruising to her face, chest, abdomen and lower limbs.
Miss Howes told the court: “She was unconscious, unresponsive and, although emergency procedures carried out by the ambulance crew re-established a heart-beat, she was unable to maintain any respiratory effort without life support.”
She was transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit at King’s College Hospital, London, but died on November 9 2012.
Miss Howes added: “The combination of the post-mortem findings of recent head injury, recent traumatic laceration of the liver and recent fracture of the left clavicle is consistent with inflicted injury of the shaking/impact type.
“It is the Crown’s case that the injuries sustained by Aimee-Rose were inflicted by her father, Mark Sandland, who, during a sudden loss of temper, gripped her around the torso and shook her.”
Sandland was charged with murder but went on to plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of lack of intent at Southwark Crown Court last week, which was accepted by the Crown.
Mr Justice Sweeney adjourned the case to Hove Crown Court for sentencing tomorrow (Wednesday).