Dad who 'lied to save his own skin' jailed for life for murder of 'miracle' baby Abel-Jax Mailey

Dad who 'lied to save his own skin' jailed for life for murder of 'miracle' baby Abel-Jax Mailey

Updated: 12 days, 4 hours, 37 minutes, 50 seconds ago

A dad has been jailed for life for the murder of his seven-week-old baby son Abel-Jax Mailey.

Oliver Mailey, 26, must serve a minimum of 16 years behind bars before he is eligible to apply for parole. Handing down the sentence at Preston Crown Court, Mr Justice Cotter said Mailey 'lied to save his own skin', putting himself before his seriously injured baby.

On November 27, Mailey was looking after the baby while his partner, Mollie Gorton was at work at Turf Moor FC. But shortly after she arrived at work, Ms Gorton received a video call from Mailey, telling her "Abel's gone weird."

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Ms Gorton told Mailey to turn the camera to Abel and saw her baby boy limp on his father's lap. When she saw her son, she screamed at Mailey to call for an ambulance.

Mailey insisted their son had gone floppy after a feed - a story he maintained to the emergency services. He was directed to carry out CPR on Abel while Mollie ran home from work and paramedics rushed to the house. Abel was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital where Mailey continued to deny any involvement in Abel's collapse when questioned by Mollie.

Abel was transferred to Manchester Children's Hospital in a critical condition but died three days later. Mailey and his partner were arrested on suspicion of GBH, and later murder following Abel's death. Mailey continued to lie about hurting Abel until December 2022 when he admitted manslaughter.

Abel-Jax-Mailey

Heartbroken Ms Gorton also faced investigation for two weeks until officers established she was not at home at the time Abel sustained his fatal injuries. A post mortem found Abel died from catastrophic head injuries and revealed fractured ribs which had been broken in the weeks before he died. It also revealed he suffered at least seven broken ribs and a brain bleed during the earlier shaking incident.

Mailey, of Piccadilly Road, Burnley, later admitted he had shaken Abel on at least two occasions before he died on November 30, 2021. In December he pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied the earlier shaking - leaving the finger pointing at his partner until he pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial in January.

He said he did not think it would cause serious harm to the little boy. In the week between the two incidents, the family's health visitor warned both parents about the dangers of shaking a baby during a routine call to the home.

During the trial, the court heard Mailey was a regular cannabis user and worked as a landscaper, which often took him away from home for several nights. But he said when he returned 'dad duties' resumed and he was hands on.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Cotter said there was nothing unusual about Abel's behaviour that would have driven Mailey to his 'wit's end.' He said Mailey may have been exhausted and suffering dental pain, but the pain had persisted for many years before Abel was born, and waking in the night was 'part and parcel of having a new baby.'

He said: "The evidence before this court showed Mollie to be a loving and devoted mother. Your actions caused her to lose her beloved son.

"Her family was blown to pieces. She left home to go to work and returned to what would be a living nightmare for any mother. She had to plan her baby's funeral alone while under suspicion of murder."

The judge said Mailey must serve at least 16 years before he can apply for parole. However it will be a decision for the parole board as to whether he is released. He will remain on licence for the rest of his life.

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