Baden-Württemberg: five-year-old shaken to death? court decides

A man is said to have shaken his ex-girlfriend's five-year-old child to death after she was said to have thrown up.

Baden-Württemberg: five-year-old shaken to death? court decides

A man is said to have shaken his ex-girlfriend's five-year-old child to death after she was said to have thrown up. However, the defendant denies the allegation. Now the district court has to decide which version to believe.

Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) - After the violent death of a five-year-old, the district court in Stuttgart has to decide whether the mother's ex-boyfriend could have shaken the disabled child to death. A verdict is expected on Monday morning (11.00).

According to the public prosecutor's office, the man accused of manslaughter killed the boy in the summer of 2020 in Sindelfingen by shaking him violently, while he was actually supposed to be taking care of him and his little brother. Four days after that afternoon in July 2020, the child died as a result of brain damage.

"The child could hardly see, could not speak and could only crawl on its back to a very limited extent," explained the prosecutor at the hearing. He said of the accused: "He had no concerns or sympathy for the child." The man also knew the danger, because there had been a similar incident four years ago. Investigations were then discontinued because no one could be assigned a crime.

However, the accused has denied the new allegations. He had grown fond of the boy and felt like his own son, he had testified.

A shaking death like the boy from Sindelfingen is anything but an isolated case in Germany. Again and again, criminal courts have to deal with the often fatal consequences of severe shaking - very often those responsible have to go to prison for many years. It is not uncommon for parents to lose their nerve and shake their baby or toddler violently if, for example, it keeps crying.

For several years now, an alliance against shaking trauma has been trying to explain the dangers. According to estimates, between 100 and 200 infants and small children with shaking trauma are brought to clinics across Germany every year. Every fourth child abused in this way dies as a result, and most of the survivors suffer permanent damage. But the number of unreported cases is high because lighter cases are difficult to detect, as reported by the National Center for Early Help in the Federal Center for Health Education.

According to a study conducted between 2006 and 2009 (ESPED or "Survey Unit for Rare Pediatric Diseases in Germany"), fathers are responsible for up to 60 percent of cases, while the mother's partner is responsible for nine percent of cases. Children between the ages of six and eight weeks are particularly affected, but older boys and girls can also die from shaking.

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