Chichester man pleads guilty to manslaughter after shaking his son to death

A man who admitted ‘forcefully’ shaking his baby son, causing injuries which later resulted in the boy’s tragic death, has been convicted at court.

Matthew Banks, 34, pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter when he appeared at Winchester Crown Court on Monday 22 August.

The charge, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by officers from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit into the death of two-year-old Leo Banks.

Leo died at home in February 2020, having been receiving specialist in-patient and out-patient treatment for head injuries he suffered in December 2017 when he was just four weeks old.

His father was interviewed by police in relation to those injuries and admitted shaking Leo ‘quite vigorously’ while he was looking after him during the night.

He said Leo had been crying hysterically and seemed stressed during a feed, leading Banks to become frustrated and tired.

It wasn’t until the morning, when Leo’s mother woke up and realised he was unwell, that medical help was sought.

Banks, of Gilbert Road, Chichester, was charged with manslaughter in February 2022 and pleaded guilty this month. He will be sentenced on October 21.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Owen Watkins, said: “This is a heart-breaking case that has resulted in the tragic and untimely death of an innocent two-year-old boy.

“Matthew Banks was one of the people trusted to look after and care for Leo, but instead his actions caused injuries that Leo was sadly unable to recover from.

“We are relieved to secure a guilty plea at court, as it means Leo’s family no longer face the additional trauma of reliving his death through a trial. Our thoughts continue to be with them all at this incredibly difficult time.”

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