Jury hears harrowing account of baby's death

A JURY has been given a harrowing account of the short life of 12-week-old baby Isabella Vallance who was killed by her father at their home in Redditch.

She suffered brain damage, bruising and fractures and died in a hospital intensive care unit, the jury at Worcester Crown Court was told.

Her father, Tyler Vallance, now 21, of The Oakalls, Bromsgrove, has admitted manslaughter and her mother, 19-year-old Jessica Wiggins, has denied two charges of failing to protect her baby.

Christopher Hotten, QC, said Wiggins, of Heathfield Road, Redditch, was on trial because she knew Vallance was a "violent, volatile, short-tempered man" who posed a risk.

The jury was told Vallance had ADHD and was under the care of a psychiatrist. He had also been violent towards Wiggins.

Since the death of Isabella, they have had another daughter, born in December last year, who has been taken into care.

Due to Isabella's slow development, Wiggins had a caesarean and the baby was born "significantly premature" Mr Hotten said. She stayed in hospital until October 5 when she was was discharged.

Vallance and Wiggins then moved out to live on their own with Isabella in a flat in Stanley Close, Redditch, without the close support of family members.

Isabella was returned to hospital with a bronchial complaint and went back home on November 6. On November 13, a health visitor from the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch noticed a small cheek bruise but could not conclude how it was caused. Mr Hotten said that after she died on December 12, when it was concluded she had started to suffer injuries three to four weeks earlier, it appeared the bruise could have been an outward sign. Between November 14 and December 6, she had a number of visits by health and social care professionals, he told the jury.
On December 6, Wiggins made a phone call in panic to the emergency services, saying her baby had stopped breathing. The jury was played a recording of the call and Wiggins broke down in tears as she heard herself trying to deal with the crisis as she was given instructions over the telephone. She tried giving mouth to mouth and using chest compressions but when a paramedic arrived, Isabella was pale and apparently lifeless.

She was taken to the Alex and transferred to intensive care at Birmingham Children's Hospital. She died five days later.

Wiggins has denied a charge of causing or allowing the death of a child on December 12, 2012, and a charge of cruelty between October 5 and December 6, 2012, by ill treatment or neglect.

The trial continues.

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