‘She has taken him from me in a terrible way’
Chelsea Cuthbertson shook and squeezed six-week-old Malakai Watts, putting him in a medically induced coma at a paediatric intensive care unit at Southampton General Hospital on February 2 2019.
She did so after an argument with her partner and Malakai’s father, Del Watts. After she went outside to smoke a cannabis joint, Ms Cuthbertson returned inside to find Malakai seriously ill and blue in the face.
Malakai suffered a traumatic head injury, which Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, told the trial was likely caused by the shaking. He also suffered eight rib fractures, one of which occurred prior to the other seven.
A decision was made to turn off his life support for days later on February 6.
Ms Cuthbertson was convicted following a trial at Winchester Crown Court but was acquitted by the jury of the murder of her son.
The judge, Mr Justice Spencer, told Cuthbertson: “Only you know what really happened.
“It’s plain from all from the evidence that you habitually smoked cannabis to calm yourself down.
“The uncomfortable truth is you were stressed by the row with your partner and took it out on Malakai.
“When you shook him and inflicted those injuries, you were taking out on this tiny baby your anger and annoyance with Del Watts.”
Rebecca Cox, of Crown Prosecution Service Wessex, said after the hearing: “After an incredibly sensitive and thorough investigation undertaken by the police, the CPS were able to use expert forensic evidence and mobile phone data to prove that Chelsea Cuthbertson was responsible for the devastating injuries sustained by Malakai Watts.
“The death of a baby in any circumstances is an utter tragedy and our thoughts are firmly with Malakai’s family.”
Mr Watts said: “This has changed my life. I have lost my home, family and job and nothing makes sense, why Chelsea did this to Malakai.
“I find it extremely difficult that she has never given an explanation about what happened or why she has never shown any remorse and tried to blame me.
“Malakai has had his whole life taken from him and I will never see him grow up, normal things like seeing him smile, going to school, kicking a football, riding a bike.
“She has taken him from me in a terrible way which has left me devastated and I do not think I will ever recover from this loss.”
Additional reporting by Press Associaton