Ethan Hopson murder trial: Accused 'shook baby violently'
A BABYSITTER accused of murdering his girlfriend's six-month-old baby allegedly shook and violently hit the tot because he was angry at being disturbed while texting another man, a court heard.
Jason Redgrave allegedly used such force that he caused severe brain injuries to Ethan Hopson by shaking him, hitting him and slapping him, the court was told.
The prosecution claims that Redgrave became annoyed when Ethan started crying because he was absorbed in sending and receiving flirtatious and sexually-charged text messages to and from the other man.
Redgrave, 25, of Grimsby, denies murdering Ethan between December 16 and 23. He also denies a charge of manslaughter.
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Nicholas Lumley QC, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court: "Ethan Hopson would have been celebrating his first birthday on Sunday.
"The fact that he didn't do so was that this man, Jason Redgrave, while babysitting for him, shook and hit him with such force that he suffered head injuries from which he never recovered.
"There was nobody else in the house. It can only have been him. While he may not have set out to kill Ethan, he deliberately caused those injuries, intending to cause really serious injury to Ethan. That's sufficient.
"If even in a moment, he intended to cause that harm, however fleeting that intent, however quickly regretted, however quickly he sought help, well that's still murder."
Mr Lumley said Redgrave was not Ethan's father but he did have a son of his own. Redgrave began a relationship in November with Ethan's mother, Karly Hopson. Ethan's natural father "never featured in his short life", said Mr Lumley.
Redgrave contacted her through Facebook, and they exchanged messages before meeting and beginning an apparently "intense" relationship.
Redgrave and Miss Hopson had been seeing each other for about three weeks when he volunteered to babysit for her at her Cleethorpes home while she went out to celebrate a friend's birthday.
He sent her two text messages to say Ethan was asleep. He claimed he later went up to check on the baby and discovered that Ethan "appeared to be lifeless". He sent a text message at 10.52pm, saying: Karly, ring me now."
A recording of a 999 call made by Redgrave to the ambulance service was played in court. In it, Redgrave told the operator: "I'm looking after my girlfriend's baby. He's barely breathing. I have laid him down flat and don't know what position to put him in. He's unresponsive. Summat's wrong. Please."
Miss Hopson ran from the bar "in a state of utter panic" and flagged down a driver to beg for a lift to her home. She found a paramedic trying to resuscitate Ethan. Miss Hopson travelled with Ethan in an ambulance to Grimsby's hospital.
Miss Hopson telephoned Redgrave and asked him what had happened. He allegedly told her: "They are going to think I have done it and I am going to go to prison." At the hospital, Redgrave kept telling Miss Hopson he was sorry and that he should have checked Ethan more often.
Ethan was still alive and he was given intensive care but the doctors decided the injuries had been deliberately caused. He was transferred to Sheffield Children's Hospital for special care.
Mr Lumley said that, while Ethan was still alive, Redgrave told police: "I haven't gone out to hurt him at all. I have not done anything to that child to cause any injuries to him intentionally or recklessly.
"I don't know what caused that condition. I can't tell you because I don't know."
Ethan died on December 22, with his mother at his side.
Mr Lumley said Ethan suffered bruises on the side of his face, between his eyes and on his scalp. There were four areas of blunt-force trauma. Bruising on his face was consistent with a slap and there was bleeding between his brain and his skull, as well as bleeding in his eyes, affecting both retinas. These suggested Ethan had been shaken, hit on the head or his head struck against another object.
"The injuries were caused by the deliberate, intentional application of force to Ethan," claimed Mr Lumley.
He told the court that Redgrave exchanged suggestive text messages with a Grimsby man before Miss Hopson went out – and 35 more were exchanged between them after that. They included explicit messages suggesting that the two men wanted to indulge in a gay relationship.
The case continues.