BABY Isabella Vallance suffered broken ribs several weeks before being killed by her father, a jury was told.
But the injuries may not have left any visible bruising on the outside of her body, which may explain why health professionals monitoring the tragic baby did not spot the injuries.
Isabella’s mother, 19-year-old Jessica Wiggins, of Heathfield Road, Redditch, who denies two charges of failing to protect her baby, wept and was led away from the dock at Worcester Crown Court as evidence from a pathologist became too much for her to bear.
Dr Alexander Kolar, a Home Office pathologist, said the broken ribs could have been caused by hands being clasped around the baby’s chest and ‘forceful squeezing’ and it may or may not have been possible for even a health professional to spot externally.
Dr Kolar said the cause of death, on December 12 2012, was a head injury.
Isabella’s father, Tyler Vallance, now aged 21, of The Oakalls, Bromsgrove, has admitted manslaughter.
The little girl was rushed to hospital from the temporary home where she was living with her parents in Stanley Close, Redditch, on December 7 2012 after she collapsed.
She had no heartbeat when paramedics arrived but it was restarted at the hospital.
Dr Kolar said that, when he examined her body, there were bruises on the little girl’s right arm, which could have been caused by the pads of fingers.
She also had broken ribs and evidence of a previous episode of bleeding from the brain, dating back three or four weeks before her death, and broken bones in her legs.
Dr Kolar agreed with Christopher Hotten QC, prosecuting, that a head injury, possibly caused by shaking, sparked the cardio-respiratory arrest leading to the baby’s collapse, which would have happened immediately or soon after a ‘traumatic assault on her’.
Neighbour Wendy Bostock, who lived in the flat below Wiggins and Vallance in Stanley Close, Redditch,told the jury she had often heard loud music and sometimes arguing in the block, which she believed came from them.
She had never heard the baby but had heard a female voice telling a man to get out of her flat after an argument on December 5 2012.
The following day she heard another argument for about two hours at 8.30am.
And on December 7 she and her carer decided to go out because of loud music from above.
As they returned at 11.20am, they heard a female voice shouting ‘downstairs are back’.
Miss Bostock added: “There was a lot of high pitched shouting and screaming and two voices.
“At 12.15 to 12.30pm I heard a siren sounding and the ambulance and paramedics arrived.
“The man and woman came running outside and were obviously very upset.
“They seemed quite panicked and we asked the man if we could help.
“He said ‘it’s the baby, I’m OK, I’m waiting for my mum to come’. He was crying and very distressed.”
Miss Bostock also said she heard a ‘panicky’ female voice say: “My baby – what’s happened to my baby?”
Mr Hotten has told the jury that Wiggins is on trial because she knew Vallance was a ‘violent, volatile, short-tempered man’ who posed a risk.
Wiggins denies 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.