Tragic girl's dad was 'incompetent father' who became a baby killer

Christopher and Carly Easey who are both on trial following the death of Eleanor Easey.

Christopher and Carly Easey who both stood trial following the death of three month old daughter Eleanor Easey. - Credit: From Facebook

Christopher Easey described himself as "the happiest man on the planet" when his daughter Eleanor was born.

He had excitedly banged on his parents' door at 5.30am "crying and showing photos" telling his mother "you're a grandmother" and boasting that he had a girl.

But just three short months after Eleanor's birth the family were back in hospital, where the tot died as a result of a catastrophic brain injury.

Christopher Easey is on trial accused of the murder of his three-month-old daughter Eleanor.

Christopher Easey was convicted of the manslaughter of his three-month-old daughter Eleanor after a six-week trial at Norwich Crown Court. - Credit: Brittany Woodman, Archant Norfolk

A 10-week trial at Norwich Crown Court heard details of the events that led to Eleanor's death and how her father - the man who should have been there to protect her - was instead the one whose violent abuse brought her life to an end.

The 31-year-old was remanded in custody after a jury found him not guilty of murder but convicted him of the manslaughter of his daughter.

Easey had told jurors in his trial that he had "big, clumsy farmer hands" and "tried to handle [Eleanor] as gently as I could" but accepted that "sometimes I handled her a little bit roughly".

His own barrister, Sally O'Neill QC described her client as a man who lacked experience as a father and who was "trying to do his incompetent best".

She had argued it was "inconceivable" he had "intended to kill her or cause really serious harm".

Eleanor Easey pictured when she was just a few weeks old.

Eleanor Easey pictured when she was just a few weeks old. - Credit: Supplied by Norfolk Constabulary on behalf of family.

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But there is a saying in life that ignorance is not an excuse and while Easey was undoubtedly inexperienced so too are all first-time parents.

Easey and his then wife Carly had more help afforded to them than many first-time parents, but despite that support the couple still failed their daughter.

Detective Inspector Lewis Craske from Norfolk's Major Investigation Team (MIT), said: "Chris and Carly Easey were very fortunate in that they had lots of support available to them, more than the norm, this a result of Carly having concealed the pregnancy.

"Both Chris and Carly had ample opportunity to reach out for help if they felt out of their depth. 

"It saddens me that they didn’t make the most of the options available to them."

Easey had tried to give multiple accounts for what had happened to Eleanor during the trial.

But he finally accepted his actions - with the "resuscitative shake" he said he had given her when trying to revive her at home - ultimately caused the death of his daughter.

Morton Hall Farm, Morton on the Hill, near Lenwade where Christopher Easey worked when Eleanor died in December 2019.

Morton Hall Farm, Morton on the Hill, near Lenwade where Christopher Easey worked when Eleanor died in December 2019. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

Yet Eleanor was found to have a number of injuries, including 31 rib fractures, with 17 at the front and 14 at the back.

These injuries had not occurred from just one event. The jury heard from medical experts that they had been inflicted at different times.

Mr Craske said there could be no doubt the that the injuries suffered by Eleanor were intended by the perpetrator.

"The numerous injuries caused to baby Eleanor are astonishing," he added.

"I cannot believe that these weren’t caused with some malice in mind, if not on the first occasion but on subsequent occasions."

He said that medical evidence effectively ruled out numerous accounts put forward by Christopher Easey.

"Chris provided numerous accounts for how Eleanor could have come to harm - braking in the car, banging her head on the cot, developing to sliding down his leg some months after interviews. None of these were deemed sufficient," the detective said.

Easey said he was heavy handed, but Mr Craske insisted "heavy handedness simply wouldn’t have caused injuries to this extent".

During the trial, Easey told the jury how he had done his best to be "mum and dad" in the early days and weeks of Eleanor's life and had said he was "coping okay".

But it was all a lie.

Christopher Easey (left) and Carly Easey (right) who have gone on trial following the death of three-month-old Eleanor Easey.

Christopher Easey (left) and Carly Easey (right) stood trial at Norwich Crown Court following the death of three-month-old Eleanor. - Credit: Brittany Woodman, Archant Norfolk

Easey was not coping at all and the pressure of working all day, coming home to help care for Eleanor and then taking Carly to and from work was all too much.

His "short temper" had resurfaced and got the better of him.

Eleanor was his to love and protect but while he claimed to have loved her, he could not protect her from himself.

When he got annoyed, Eleanor would sadly get hurt, again and again and again until her little body could take no more.

After a 10-week trial, Christopher was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter and a charge of cruelty.

Carly was found not guilty of allowing the death of her daughter but guilty of cruelty.


Profile - Christopher Easey

The son of Tina and Roger, Christopher was one of three brothers who went to Witchford Village College, near Ely, but left school at 15.

He completed a motor mechanics course before going on to have an array of jobs, including poultry worker, assistant manager of a chicken factory at Sleaford, and working at Peterborough Arena.

He was 26 when he met Carly through Mucky Matches - a rural dating site. He had previously seen her around before at various agricultural events.

The couple were wed at Old Buckenham Church in June 2018.

Morton on the Hill, near Lenwade where Christopher and Caryl Easey lived when Eleanor died in December 2019.

Morton on the Hill, near Lenwade where Christopher and Carly Easey lived when Eleanor died in December 2019. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

He went on to work for Baco-Compak, a waste-management solutions company and also, for a while, at County Grounds Maintenance (CGM) before getting a job as a stockman - someone who looks after livestock - at Morton Hall Farms.

Christopher was living at Rose Cottage, Gayton, when Eleanor was born but moved to Morton Hall, near Lenwade, on November 10, 2019. The couple were living here when Eleanor died in December 2019.