A Wicked Lie

Kelly’s pre­cious time with her new­born baby was vi­o­lently cut short…

Pick Me Up! Special - - News -

As the sono­g­ra­pher moved the cur­sor around my jel­lied tummy, a grainy out­line ap­peared on the mon­i­tor and I was in awe.

‘There’s your baby,’ she said. ‘And a strong heart­beat.’

My boyfriend, Ben Roach, 23, squeezed my hand, beam­ing. ‘We’re keep­ing it,’ he whis­pered. I cried tears of hap­pi­ness. We hadn’t planned on start­ing a fam­ily so soon.

I’d pan­icked when I dis­cov­ered I was preg­nant.

‘What are we go­ing to do?’ I sobbed to Ben so wor­ried.

‘We’ll work it out,’ he soothed, stroking my hair.

Nei­ther of us had se­cure jobs so the thought of hav­ing a baby was ter­ri­fy­ing.

But as I saw Ben’s face light up at the 12-week scan, I knew that we’d man­age some­how.

We had been to­gether for three years af­ter meet­ing on a night out.

I knew that Ben had a bit of a dodgy past and had spent a short time in prison. I wasn’t sure ex­actly what for, but I knew it was some­thing drug-re­lated.

But now he was on the straight and nar­row and we were ex­cited about be­ing par­ents.

At the 20-week scan, we were over-the-moon to find out we were ex­pect­ing a lit­tle girl.

We rushed out and spent ev­ery last penny spoil­ing our first-born.

Our daugh­ter was a few days late and I couldn’t wait to meet her.

Fi­nally, con­trac­tions started and af­ter hours of ag­o­nis­ing labour, baby Roxie-jo fi­nally ar­rived. She was so worth it. ‘She’s beau­ti­ful,’ Ben gushed, gen­tly kiss­ing her fore­head.

My nan of­fered us a house and we leapt at the chance to have our own home.

Ben and I quickly set­tled into be­ing par­ents. Dirty nappy changes, sleep­less nights and early morn­ing feeds didn’t bother us and I loved how peo­ple cooed over her.

Roxie-jo was al­most a month old when I went to spend the day with my par­ents, Wendy and An­drew Hop­kins.

When I got home, Roxie-jo was all bunged up and full of cold.

‘I’ll go to the shops to get her some medicine,’ I said.

It was only the sec­ond time Ben was left to look af­ter her by him­self, but he was a de­voted dad.

When I re­turned home, just twenty min­utes later, I found paramedics rush­ing to the door.

My stom­ach lurched.

We tried to give her ev­ery­thing

‘What’s go­ing on?’ I cried, sprint­ing into the house. Ben was pale and deadly quiet. I could see the fear in his eyes. Sud­denly I saw my beau­ti­ful Roxie-jo.

She was floppy and the colour had drained from her.

I screamed.

‘She just stopped breath­ing,’ Ben stam­mered.

I rushed to the kitchen sink and threw up.

I climbed into the am­bu­lance with Roxie-jo and we were rushed to hos­pi­tal, while Ben fol­lowed be­hind us.

A team of doc­tors and nurses bat­tled to save our lit­tle girl.

Roxie-jo looked so frag­ile hooked up to all those tubes, and her con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated rapidly.

She was taken to in­ten­sive care. So­cial ser­vices and po­lice had been called and were at the hos­pi­tal, but all I cared about was my baby. ‘This can’t be hap­pen­ing,’ I thought, des­per­ate to wake up from the night­mare. But it was real. In the mid­dle of the night, we were told there was noth­ing they could do. I col­lapsed and suf­fered a ter­ri­ble panic at­tack. Roxie-jo clung on long enough for us to say good­bye. I cra­dled her in my arms as she passed away. She was just 28 days old when she died. It was al­most as if she was just sleep­ing and would wake up at any minute. We didn’t want to let go. When Ben and I left the hos­pi­tal, we knew we couldn’t re­turn home as our house would have been full of mem­o­ries, so we stayed with my par­ents for a few nights.

‘This is my fault,’ I sobbed. ‘I should have taken her to the doc­tors straight away. I knew she wasn’t well.’ Ben pulled me in close. ‘No one could have known,’ he whis­pered. Two days later, we were both called to the po­lice sta­tion for ques­tion­ing. I was then told that Roxie-jo’s death was be­ing treated as sus­pi­cious. But in my grief, I as­sumed they would quickly re­alise that they were mis­taken. But two weeks later, po­lice ar­rested Ben. Only then did I re­alise they sus­pected him of hurt­ing our daugh­ter. ‘No!’ I cried, re­fus­ing to be­lieve it. When he re­turned at 6pm that evening, he took me up­stairs for a talk. ‘I dropped her,’ he blurted out. I’m so sorry.’ He said it was an ac­ci­dent and that he had quickly picked her back up. As she cried and strug­gled for breath, he’d rocked her back and forth. It was then that she’d gone floppy and her hands and feet turned blue. I was hys­ter­i­cal. ‘Why did you lie?’ I screamed. ‘If you had told the truth from the be­gin­ning, they might have treated her dif­fer­ently and saved her!’

I couldn’t even look at him af­ter that, so Ben went to stay at his mum’s house that night.

Al­though he’d lied, I still thought that Roxie-jo’s death had been a tragic ac­ci­dent. But Ben was still ly­ing.

Ex­perts said that Roxie-jo’s in­juries were the re­sult of nonac­ci­den­tal head in­juries - shaken baby syn­drome.

Ben was charged with man­slaugh­ter. My world col­lapsed. Due to ex­ten­sive med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions, it was two years be­fore I could bury Roxie-jo, but I made sure her funeral was fit for a princess. I had a cer­e­mony to have Roxie-jo blessed and changed her name.

She no longer had Ben’s sur­name, and I re­moved the ‘Jo’, which was af­ter Ben’s mum.

When the case fi­nally came to Ply­mouth Crown Court in May 2013, I sat through it all.

Mum and Dad were with me ever­day for sup­port.

The post-mortem re­sults re­vealed Roxie’s in­juries could have been in line with three in­ci­dents:

If she was dropped from the first floor banis­ter, if some­one had fallen down the stairs with her in their arms and launched her at the wall at the bot­tom, or in a car crash hit­ting the cen­tral reser­va­tion on the mo­tor­way while do­ing 70mph.

The jury found Ben guilty af­ter a two-week trial.

The judge said; ‘You lost your tem­per and your self-con­trol, and com­mit­ted a se­ri­ous un­law­ful act on a help­less and vul­ner­a­ble baby who in con­se­quence lost her life.’

Ben was sen­tenced to seven years in prison.

Since los­ing Roxie, I’ve found life a strug­gle, hav­ing to wait over two years for a funeral and to be able to grieve prop­erly.

I don’t think Ben re­alises how much he de­stroyed my life.

It’s the not know­ing and the end­less unan­swered ques­tions about Roxie’s fi­nal mo­ments - all the whys, the hows, and the what ifs.

But now, with the clo­sure of both her funeral and the court case, I can move on with my life, my daugh­ter can now rest in peace, and jus­tice has been served. All I have left of my pre­cious daugh­ter is mem­o­ries, but I will cher­ish those for the rest of my life.

And I prom­ise her that I will al­ways be her proud mum.

It was a liv­ing night­mare for me

Ben wanted to be a dad

She made me so proud

Kelly Patey, 27, Ply­mouth

How could he hurt her? Ben lost his tem­per

Dad An­drew was an amaz­ing sup­port through­out the trial

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.