Trigger warning: child death, violence
Mark Jones, 45, murdered his 5-week-old granddaughter "because she was ginger" and allegedly reminded him of her father, who he hated. The murder took place while Jones was babysitting his newborn granddaughter Amelia Jones. He reportedly beat her head causing injuries so severe, they are common in car crashes, according to court records.
Prosecutor Paul Lewis said, "Mark Jones did not like the fact that Amelia Jones had ginger hair and looked like her father." Amelia's father Ian Skillern ended his relationship with Sarah, 26, before she gave birth to her daughter. According to testimony heard in the Newport Crown Court, Jones pressured his daughter to put an end to the relationship because he had an "obvious dislike" for Skillern.
Lewis told the jury that just a week before Amelia was killed, Jones had made an "odd comment" to his daughter, telling her, "Even though I don't like her dad, I don't hold grudges against a baby."
The jury unanimously decided that Jones had murdered his own granddaughter on November 17, 2012, because of his hatred for her father. At the time he was alone with the child since her mother was at the cinema with her sister. At around 10:30 pm, Jones called emergency services and told the operator he had "gone to make a cuppa" and that his granddaughter "stopped breathing" in his absence.
When paramedics and police arrived at the three-bed terraced house, they found Jones in the living room standing over Amelia’s lifeless body. She was lying on the floor with a fractured skull. Although medics were able to restore her pulse after she was rushed to the hospital, they failed to get her breathing on her own. She was immediately transferred for specialist treatment where she died two days later "catastrophic brain injuries" after just 41 days of life.
An autopsy revealed that Amelia had also suffered multiple fractures to her ribs, legs and skull in the weeks before her death. Although Sarah was also arrested at the time, police eventually determined that she had nothing to do with the injuries. In a victim impact statement, she told the court, “It upsets me how little time I got to spend with Amelia. “I feel guilty for letting Mark Jones into my life. This whole ordeal has been a nightmare I cannot escape. It seems like she didn’t really exist, like she was some kind of dream.”
“There have been times when I blamed myself for what happened to Amelia because I was the person who invited him back into my life. As far as I’m concerned, he is no longer my father," she added.
Jones had also babysat Amelia and her three young siblings alone on the Friday and Saturday nights before her murder. After his arrest, he changed his version of events four times during police interviews conducted between November 2012 and July 2014. Initially, he said Amelia had simply stopped breathing when he left her alone on the sofa to make a cup of tea.
He then claimed that he had accidentally dropped her on the floor after tripping over a toy penguin on the floor. Afterward, he claimed a teenage boy, who visiting the home, had accidentally dropped Amelia while using his phone. The teen dismissed these claims so once again Jones changed his story and said he had "blacked out or fainted" while holding her granddaughter and had fallen to the floor.
Jones, of Pontnewydd, South Wales, eventually pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice but denied a charge of murder.