Baby shaker jailed for second time after child he attacked dies years later due to 'heartbreaking' injuries

A thug who shook his girlfriend's baby has now been jailed for the boy's manslaughter after he died at the age of 18 due to his injuries.

Thursday, 2nd August 2018, 3:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd August 2018, 3:38 pm
Guy has been jailed for 21 months.

Marc Guy was locked up for 21 months for GBH after he left then six-month old Ewan Marrin with catastrophic brain injuries during a "violent shaking" episode at the baby's home in 1998.

Because of his brain injuries, Ewan was left severely disabled, had visual impairment, stiff limbs and unpredictable epileptic seizures.

Guy has been jailed for 21 months.

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He needed 24-hour care, had the mental age of a four to five year old and endured countless operations.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Ewan was found dead in his bed on May 28 2016, at the age of 18. His death was due to his epilepsy caused by the shaking attack.

Guy, who had since married, had a child of his own and emigrated to Ireland, was arrested when he travelled back to the UK for a family funeral in November last year.

The 43-year-old, of Commons Road, Lower Killeens, County Cork, has now pleaded guilty to Ewan's manslaughter and been jailed for another 21 months.

Ewan and mum Michelle, pictured together in 2005.

Judge Paul Sloan QC said he accepted Guy was now a "reformed character" but added that statements from Ewan's family, who lived in Houghton, detailed the suffering and treatment he endured during his life.

The judge said: "Their lives were turned upside down because of what you did 20 years ago."

Judge Sloan said the statement from Ewan's mother Michelle Coulson about her son's plight was "heartbreaking".

He: "No sentence I am permitted by law to pass could ever begin to repair the harm you have caused."

Newcastle Crown Court.

Judge Sloan said Ewan's death has left a "huge void" in the life of his stepfather Ian Coulson, who he lived with, and added: "His love, patience and understanding stands in marked contrast to your violent loss of control all those years ago".

The court heard Guy had been in a relationship with Ewan's mother Michelle and had been left alone with him for around two hours when he shook him on November 23 1998.

When Ewan's mum returned to her then-home in Seaham, she realised her boy was seriously unwell and he was taken to hospital by ambulance. He underwent life-saving brain surgery.

Guy claimed Ewan had accidentally fallen 18 inches from a sofa.

But medics determined that the tot's injuries were from violent shaking while being gripped around the chest.

Guy, who had previous convictions, was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on April 23, 1999.

The court heard Ewan's mum married Ian Coulson in 2001 and he became the boy's stepfather and guardian.

Ewan remained living with his stepdad after the couple split in 2010. It was Mr Coulson who found Ewan dead in his bed on May 28, 2016.

David Brooke QC, prosecuting, told the court Ewan had suffered a bad fit that morning and then slept most of the day, which was not unusual after a bad seizure.

The prosecutor said: "He seemed peaceful and asleep. Later that afternoon, Mr Coulson went upstairs at around 5pm. Ewan was face-down and cold to the touch.

"He saw he was in a fitting position and realised he had died."

Mr Brooke added: "A post-mortem revealed the cause of death was sudden and unexpected death in epilepsy.

"It is accepted by the plea to manslaughter, which the defendant has entered, that the death related to the non-accidental injuries sustained at the hands of the defendant in 1998."

In a victim statement, Mr Coulson said he felt like a father to Ewan and added: "I was very proud to say he called me dad."

Mr Coulson added: "To say his life wasn't without difficulty is an understatement but it was his life and he enjoyed what he had."

Mr Coulson said Ewan could not be left alone and needed help with personal care, day-to-day tasks and suffered regular fits.

His hospital treatment, which included operations, was ongoing throughout his life.

Mr Coulson added: "I will never be able to fully explain what Ewan had to endure as a result of him being assaulted as a baby."

Despite his problems, Mr Coulson said Ewan enjoyed caravan holidays and there were good times together.

Mr Coulson added: "I feel lost without him. His death has left a huge void."

Ewan's mum Michelle Coulson said her boy was loved by his family but his injuries changed the course of all of their lives forever.

Mrs Coulson said: "I never felt Mark Guy's initial sentence was any kind of punishment for what his actions caused that day.

"We, as a family, have served the longest sentence."

Peter Makepeace QC, mitigating, said Guy has undergone a "metamorphosis" since he carried out the attack as a much younger man.

Guy is now a devoted family man who runs a small-hold in Ireland, sells produce locally and is "well respected", he added.

Mr Makepeace continued: "The man who appears before this court today is not the man who, 20 years ago, committed this offence."

Guy had returned to the UK in November last year to attend his grandmother's funeral. He was arrested as he was getting on the plane.

Guy then later returned voluntarily back to the UK even when he was allowed to go back to Ireland on bail, his barrister added.

Richard Wilson from the CPS said: “This was a highly unusual case which rested on the prosecution demonstrating a direct causal link between the actions of Marc Guy in 1998 and Ewan’s tragic death in 2016.

“The CPS pieced together expert opinion, both of the medical notes from the original case and the results of the post-mortem examination, to show that the brain damage Ewan sustained almost 20 years ago was directly responsible for the violent seizures which ultimately led to his death.

“I sincerely hope that the sentence passed today brings a measure of comfort to those who cared for Ewan, at what must be an incredibly difficult time for them.”