Jury goes out in baby death case

Chuanfang Zhenh at Leicester Crown Court, accused of shaking a baby to death. PICTURE LEICESTER MERCURY
Chuanfang Zhenh at Leicester Crown Court, accused of shaking a baby to death. PICTURE LEICESTER MERCURY
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The jury is out considering their verdict in a manslaughter trial, after a seven-month-old baby from the Harborough district died from severe head injuries.

Baby Phoebe Guo died in March 2015 after becoming ill while she was being looked after by her aunt.

At the time the baby’s parents - Ling Ling Wang and Hon Glu Guo - had been working at the family business, The Great Wall takeaway on Linden Drive, Lutterworth.

The prosecution allege the aunt, Chuanfang Zheng, 31, “lost control” while she was babysitting at a nearby flat, and fatally shook Phoebe.

Zheng, who was also looking after her own three children, says the baby became ill while she was feeding and maintains she did not shake her.

She has pleaded not guilty at Leicester Crown Court to the manslaughter charge.

So far the jury has been out for almost six hours discussing the case.

A verdict in the three week trial was expected later tomorrow (Thursday).

Earlier in the case, Adrian Langdale, prosecuting, had said that Phoebe died from non-accidental brain damage known as “shaken baby syndrome”.

He told the jury: “We say this defendant momentarily lost control and shook this baby vigorously.”

Medical experts have agreed that Phoebe’s death followed an “abusive head trauma, caused by vigorous shaking”.

But the defendant, who now lives in Southwark, London, said baby Phoebe had simply become ill while being fed.

She said as she was feeding Phoebe, the baby “started to change and go white”.

She said the baby seemed to be choking, and any head injuries could have been caused by the family’s frantic attempts to revive Phoebe.