A HAMPSHIRE woman has today been jailed for nine years for killing her six-week-old baby by shaking him violently and causing serious brain damage.

Earlier this week Chelsea Cuthbertson, 28, was cleared of murdering Malakai Watts following a five-week trial at Winchester Crown Court but was found guilty of his manslaughter.

Sentencing was adjourned until today and Cuthbertson, formerly of Knightwood Road in Hythe, was remanded in custody.

The judge, Mr Justice Spencer, told the defendant: "Malakai was particularly vulnerable due to his age. You grossly abused your position of trust - he was a helpless baby."

The judge said Cuthbertson was "angry and stressed" after a row with her partner, Dell Watts, and took it out on her son.

During the trial jurors heard that paramedics responded to reports of a seriously unwell infant at Cuthbertson’s home on February 2 2019.

Malakai was rushed to Southampton General Hospital and placed in a medically-induced coma in the paediatric intensive care unit.

But doctors struggled to control the seizures he was having, while a CT scan indicated bleeds on his brain and damage to his brain stem. He also had fractured ribs.

In evidence submitted to the court one of the medics said: "When he arrived at hospiral he was dying in front of us."

Malakai died four days later following a decision to turn off his life support.

Subsequent investigations showed he had suffered "very traumatic" head injuries that were deemed to be non-accidental. He also had several fractured ribs.

During the trial it emerged that Cuthbertson had smoked cannabis and drunk a bottle of wine the evening before Malakai was injured.

The following morning she shook him after losing her temper but dialled 999 and began CPR as soon as she realised something was wrong, the court was told.

Today Jo Martin QC, mitigating, highlighted what she described as the "lack of premeditation" by the defendant.

Describing her behaviour immediately after the incident described by the prosecution she said: "To her it was not obvious that what she had done had caused Malakai significant harm."

Miss Martin added that Malakai would have fallen unconscious immediately and would not have been aware of his subsequent seizures.

Following his death the defendant embarked on a period of self-destruction and started abusing drink and drugs even more than she had in the past, said Miss Martin. At one point she sought to take an overdose.

The barrister added: "She will have to live, for the rest of her life, with the death of Malakai."

In a statement read out by a member of the prosecution team Mr Watts said he had lost his home, his family and his job.

Mr Watts criticised the defendant for trying to blame him for Malakai's death.

He added: "I'm never going to see Malakai grow up. I think of all the things that would have been part of our life together.

"She has taken him from me in a terrible way. I don't think I can ever recover from my loss."

Speaking after the hearing Detective Inspector Toby Elcock, who led the investigation, said: "Justice has been served today but we know that nothing can bring Malakai back. 
“The death of a child is absolutely devastating and our thoughts remain with Malakai’s family.” 
Rebecca Cox of the Crown Prosecution Service added: “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.”

The NSPCC said: “This is a heart-breaking case where a defenceless baby was subjected to unspeakable suffering by someone who should have nurtured and protected him from harm.
“Young children depend entirely on those caring for them for their safety and wellbeing, so it is of the utmost importance that anyone concerned about the welfare of a child speaks out."

During the trial Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, told jurors that Cuthbertson was angry with Mr Watts, whom she accused of not helping around the house, and took it out on Malakai.

Some of the defendant’s text messages were read out in court, one of which said: “I’m sick of doing everything and being in all the time.”

Referring to the events of February 2 2019 Miss Howes said: "Her resentment and anger reached such a point that morning that she took it out on Malakai, squeezing him around the chest, shaking him and then causing an impact to his head.”

But Cuthbertson denied deliberately harming Malakai or shaking him.

Giving her version of events said she went outside and smoked a joint. When she went back inside she saw Malakai had turned blue and dialled 999.

Asked if she knew what was wrong with Malakai, or what had happened to him, she replied: “No.”