A man who murdered his six-week-old child in Broadstairs has been jailed for life following an investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.
Lee Vernon inflicted fatal head injuries on his son, McKenzie Ellis, who died at a London Hospital in July 2018.
Vernon, 21 and of no fixed address, was found guilty of murder, and two counts of grievous bodily harm, following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court in October. He was sentenced at the same court today (November 29) and will serve a minimum term of 16 years.
Kent Police was alerted to McKenzie’s injuries on July 23, when Vernon called the emergency services to report his son was unconscious and he had no idea why. When asked if the child had hurt himself in any way he replied ‘no, not really.’
Medical crews found McKenzie had suffered trauma to his head and he died at a specialist trauma unit three days later.
In police interview Vernon said his son had accidentally fallen from his grip, causing the child to hit himself on the arm of a sofa before falling to the floor.
Medical experts however disclosed McKenzie had suffered multiple injuries, some of which would have been caused on at least two previous occasions.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Vickery, Kent Police’s investigating officer for this case, said: “It is impossible to comprehend the unnecessary suffering McKenzie endured during his short life and I am pleased Vernon has received a substantial sentence that means he is not able to harm another child.
“This was a complex and deeply emotional case and I am grateful to the medical experts, and my investigation team, who worked tirelessly to pursue justice for McKenzie.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “A parent’s priority should be protecting their baby from harm – but instead Vernon subjected his son to a horrific attack that tragically ended his short life.
“His actions will have a devastating impact on a family robbed of the chance of watching McKenzie grow up.
“It is vital that anyone with concerns about the welfare of a child speaks out. They can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”