Goldthorpe baby murder trial: Father ‘tried to save life’ of dying daughter

Mark Lackenby at Sheffield Crown Court.
Mark Lackenby at Sheffield Crown Court.

A dad accused of killing his newborn baby said the day she collapsed was the worst day of his life.

Mark Lackenby, of High Street, Goldthorpe, Barnsley, denied any involvement in five-week-old Ruby Lackenby’s death when he took to the stand at Sheffield Crown Court accused of murder yesterday.

The 32-year-old told jurors: “It was the worst day of my life. It’s never going to go away from me.”

Wiping away tears as he recalled his daughter’s last moments alive, the Network Rail employee said he placed her on the floor and gave CPR after she went floppy and started turning blue in the arms of her mother Gemma Coates.

He said Ruby had not shown any signs of illness before she collapsed and died the following day.

Lackenby said: “She was perfectly fine, such a beautiful little girl.”

Scans revealed Ruby had fractured ribs, believed to have been sustained seven to 10 days before she died.

The accusation against Lackenby is he assaulted his daughter when left alone with her while he was watching a football match, which he had placed a bet on.

Asked by his barrister, Andrew Robertson QC, whether he had assaulted the baby on the day she fell ill, Lackenby replied: “No I didn’t.”

He said: “The only thing I did was to try to save her life, that’s all I did.”

Asked about the rib fracture sustained a week earlier, he added: “I was at work about seven to 10 days earlier when Ruby had those fractured ribs.

“I was at work, I don’t know who had Ruby, who had hold of her, I just don’t know.”

He described how both he and paramedics tried to revive Ruby before she was taken to hospital, detailing how they did chest compressions and tried to breathe air into her lungs.

Lackenby claimed that on the way to hospital in the ambulance the driver had to brake suddenly, causing a paramedic who was working on Ruby to lurch from one side of the ambulance to the other.

The court heard Ruby’s parents were show a scan of her brain when she was in hospital, which revealed swelling and bleeding, and were told by medics the outcome was bleak.

The couple arranged a christening for their daughter before agreeing for her life support machine to be switched off.

Both Lackenby and 31-year-old Coates, also of High Street, Goldthorpe, who is charged with perverting the course of justice, wept when the final hours of their daughter’s short life were revealed.

The trial continues.