‘Volatile’ couple deny killing baby daughter


- Credit: Archant

A PORTISHEAD woman and her partner have denied manslaughter after their baby daughter Paris died of ‘catastrophic’ head injuries.

Danah Vince, aged 19, of Mendip Road, and William Stephens, aged 25, of Fontill Road in Southmead are jointly charged with manslaughter and causing or allowing the death of a child.

They both denied the offences when they went on trial at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Tues).

Prosecutor Christopher Quinlan told the court 16-week-old Paris was admitted to Bristol Children’s Hospital with ‘catastrophic and fatal head injuries’ and died three days later.

He said: “Our case is that one of the defendants caused those injuries by shaking her or by bringing her head into contact with a soft surface, or a combination of both.

“We say they are criminally responsible for her death. One parent should have appreciated there was a significant risk of serious harm being caused to Paris by the other.

“They did not take steps to protect her. That defendant failed Paris.

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“Stephens says he did not touch Paris all day, while Vince claims she left Paris alone for a short time with Stephens.

“She claims Paris was fine when she left her and she did not shake her, so Stephens must have.”

The court heard prosecution claims that Vince and Stephens were both drug users and while Vince could get ‘nasty’ on drugs, Stephens was often ‘violent’.

Their six-year relationship was described as ‘volatile’ and Vince told police she was assaulted by Stephens many times.

The court heard how Vince said she left Paris at her flat with Stephens at 11.20am on January 11 to go to the doctor’s and then again at 3.15pm when she went to get cannabis. But Stephens claims he did not get to the flat until 3pm.

Mr Quinlan said: “When Paris was in hospital, Stephens told a relative he’d been feeding her when she’d gone limp, so he’d shaken her slightly to wake her up.”

Paramedics were called at 4.40pm and found Paris had no muscle tone and was showing signs of a lack of oxygen to her brain.

She died of two brain haemorrhages and hypoxic brain injury.

The trial, which continues today, is expected to last several weeks.