A MAN shook a baby boy to death after learning he was not his biological son, a court has heard.
Paul Rich raised three-month-old Patrick Bailey as his own – then killed him when later told the tot was “possibly” not his.
The 54-year-old had been due to stand trial for murder.
But this morning at Bristol Crown Court, prosecutor Sally Howes QC said the Crown would accept Rich’s guilty plea to manslaughter.
The court heard Rich had been told by wife Kirsty Bradley he was the boy’s dad and his name would be listed as the father on the birth certificate.
Kirsty and Rich lived together as husband and wife, but not intimately, and she had another partner, it was said.
Rich later read texts from Kirsty to the other man referring to little Patrick as “our” and when Rich asked if he was the dad she told him “possibly, I don’t know”.
Little Patrick died from injuries consistent with being “gripped” under the underarms and shaken during a later evening when Paul was left to care for the child.
Rich accepted “dropping” baby Patrick approximately three or four feet into his Moses basket on the floor, after picking him up when he would not stop crying.
But medical experts agreed that Patrick’s injuries were far more serious than could have been sustained from such a short drop.
Rich, of Swindon, Wilts., appeared at court today charged with murder on March 30, 2017.
He pleaded not guilty to murder but instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter – a revised plea accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, said: “Paul Rich was told that he was to be named as the father on the birth certificate. He accepted and cared for the [the baby] as his own.
“Text messages between he and Kirsty Bradley showed his affection towards and interest [in the baby].
“But he suspected that he was not the father – and said that he had had a gut feeling for some time.
“This was confirmed when he read texts on Kirsty’s phone between she and her partner, referring to the [baby] as ‘our’.
“This made him a little bit upset. When he asked Kirsty whether they were her partner’s babies, she said: ‘Possibly, I don’t know’.”
Miss Howes added: “Taking pathology and clinical opinion together, it is clear that Patrick’s death came as a consequence of sequential gripping, movement trauma or shaking, and severe blunt force trauma.”
Rich was arrested at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children’s PICU unit on March 25.
But in interviews given that day and the next, he told police that he was “just caring for Patrick” and that he “wouldn’t hurt a fly”.
He said: “I would never assault him.”
But Miss Howes added: “This was a man who had experience of looking after the baby, and knows how to handle a baby with care. It’s quite clear he knows not to do this.”
Rich is due to be sentenced later today or tomorrow.