Mother says her six-week-old baby was ‘floppy and like a raggy doll’
Alexis looked like she was already dead when she was taken to hospital, mum tells court
By Leanna MacLarty
A mother has described seeing her six-week-old baby lying “lifeless” in the arms of the man alleged to have killed her.
Ilona Sheach, 21, thought her baby was already dead when she saw her “pasty, greyish-colour” face on the night she was taken to hospital, the High Court in Aberdeen heard yesterday.
Her former boyfriend Mark Simpson is accused of murdering Alexis Matheson by assaulting her in Deansloch Crescent in Aberdeen between November 8 and 9, 2007.
The 29-year-old denies seizing the infant, shaking her and compressing her chest, injuring her so severely that she died in hospital in Edinburgh on December 10.
The court heard the baby became increasingly ill and had “convulsions” in the days leading up to her death.
The night that baby Alexis was taken to hospital, she had “gone floppy and like a raggy doll”, and her lips had turned blue, Miss Sheach told police. “She didn’t look like Alexis,” she said in court.
She was taken to hospital in Aberdeen and then transferred to Edinburgh, but doctors told the family she could not be saved.
When it was time to turn off the life-support machine, Miss Sheach’s mother Violet Hocking objected to Simpson being there, and he “stormed out”, the court heard.
Asked if she heard or saw anything in the house that may explain Alexis’s death, Miss Sheach said “no”.
Months after the death, she told police she remembered Mark giving her a “strange” look one day as he was bathing the baby, “like the look you would do if you were on to something”.
Miss Sheach told the court she still wanted to find out what happened to her baby.
“I realise that obviously injuries cannot be caused by themselves,” she said.
“I wanted to see her first birthday and second birthday and take her to school,” she told police in an interview.
Miss Sheach said the pair had continued their relationship after the baby’s death, but denied a claim by Simpson’s mother that they were still due to get married.
Asked by advocate depute Ian McSporran how Simpson explained the death, she said: “He said my family hated him and were trying to split us up.”
The court previously heard that Simpson had dated Miss Sheach’s older sister Amanda Neish, and fathered her baby, before moving on to the younger sibling.
Miss Sheach told the court she was forced to move into Simpson’s house because of the “animosity” the situation created with her family.
“My mum was disappointed in me,” she said. “My sister stopped speaking to me when she found out.”
Asked by advocate depute Ian McSporran who “wore the trousers” in the house, she said: “Mark did”.
“I didn’t really have my own points of view,” she said. “It was never like that before I moved in. Mark was very caring. He used to listen.”
Simpson took medication for depression and cried regularly because he had been told he would not be able to see his own baby by Miss Neish, Miss Sheach said.
Simpson, whose address was given as 2 Dunbennan Road, Dyce, also denies breaching a court order stopping him contacting Miss Sheach on various occasions between May 23, 2008, and December 8, 2008.
The trial continues.