Man admits brutally beating his 16-day-old daughter to death
A father has admitted murdering his 16-day-old daughter after beating her to death in a bloodied and "sustained physical assault" at their home.
Matthew Higham, 23, of Shaw Road South, Shaw Heath, Stockport, Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty to killing Florence Liberty Mae Higham at Preston Crown Court on the first day of his trial.
Prosecutor Mr Gordon Cole QC said that the little girl had received "extensive injuries" at the hands of her father, consistent with being "repeatedly punched" or "repeatedly slammed against a hard surface".
The little girl was taken to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport but was pronounced dead at 8.38pm on July 29 2015.
The court was told that Higham had been looking after the baby whilst Florence's mother Sharon Collins visited a sick relative in hospital.
Mr Cole said that Higham was to make an emergency 999 call at 8.06pm saying that his daughter was "bleeding out of her nose, mouth and ears" but denied that Florence had sustained any trauma whilst with him.
He initially described to police how Florence had begun to bleed as he fed her, before stopping breathing.
Higham has maintained that he has no account of what happened or how he caused the injuries which included multiple skull and rib fractures, facial injuries and bruising, resulting in acute brain damage.
She also suffered internal injuries and organ damage including a lacerated liver.
Matthew Higham (Pic: Facebook)
Mr Cole said: "It's right to say that Florence died as a result of these multiple injuries. Stating the obvious, a newborn baby is completely dependent on parents.
"These injuries reveal the extent of the injuries extending towards Florence by her father. Still there is no account from him as to how he caused these injuries. The injuries sustained were extensive and of course would have had no chance of recovery."
During the case, Higham remained with his head in his hands as Miss Collins sobbed.
The court was told that the findings of a post-mortem examination, conducted by Dr Naomi Carter at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, were consistent with repeated punches to the face or repeatedly being slammed against a hard surface.
Pathologist Dr Carter said she could not rule out that Florence was also kicked, squeezed or stamped on. Fingertip bruises were also found on the little girl's arms, legs and chest indicating that she had been "gripped and pinched with considerable force".
Following a two-day investigation at the home, officers concluded that the assault had taken place around the sofa before the youngster was moved throughout the house as she continued to bleed.
The court heard that Higham had made an attempt to clean the house before emergency services arrived.
Blood-stained clothing was found in the dustbin.
Following his arrest later that night, he was to provide a statement denying his involvement in the death of his "perfect" baby, adding it had been "out of the blue".
The statement said: "I'm not responsible for the death of my lovely little girl Florence. She was the light of my eyes. I have not shook her or dropped her."
Mr Benjamin Nolan QC for Higham said: "He does not remember the actual events of the killing."
He will be sentenced later today.