A mother was apparently having an intimate relation with the man who was convicted of killing her baby at the moment she was informed that the doctors were ready to switch off the child’s life support.
Davidson was engaged in an act with former soldier Gordon McKay in the family room of a hospital in Edinburgh where the daughter was admitted.
McKay, 38, had shaken Haley Davidson violently at his home in Buckhaven, Fife, on Valentine’s Day, 2016. He denied that he murdered the child, but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide.
Davidson had left her five-month-old daughter with McKay as she was getting her other two daughters ready for a day out with their grandmother. While Ms Davidson was absent, McKay shook the infant violently causing massive damage.
Davidson rushed back to home after receiving a text saying ‘come quick!’. When she arrived she found McKay leaning over her baby and administering CPR.
She called an ambulance, but before it had arrived, McKay told Miss Davidson that he had left Hayley alone to run a bath but found her unresponsive on a beanbag, so he shook her.
In response to police questioning at the hospital, he told doctors he had shaken the baby three or four times, and described her head as ‘whipping backwards and forwards’.
The doctors carried out scans which revealed a bleed around Hayley’s brain consistent with a significant head trauma, and in particular a shaking type injury.
A non-survivable head injury was diagnosed after brain stem tests confirmed no activity, soon care was withdrawn and Hayley died. Advocate depute Jane Farquharson, prosecuting, told how Miss Davidson had developed an ‘obsessive’ relationship with the accused after splitting with Hayley’s father.
The tests showed that the pair had smoked cannabis together with Hayley in the room the night before the baby was fatally injured. Miss Farquharson also revealed that Hayley had previously had hospital treatment for a broken arm on New Year’s Day 2016 – three months into McKay’s relationship with her mother.
She said: ‘Gordon McKay took responsibility for what he described as the “accident” that caused it. His account was deemed consistent with her injury and the clinical team did not view the fracture as suspicious.
‘Social services were notified and did not intervene. Fife protocol has now changed as a result of this case.
‘Examination of Hayley upon her admission on February 14, 2016, during the time she spent in hospital prior to her death and scrutiny of the various X-rays and scans taken at this time, revealed a number of healing fractures over various parts of her body and of different ages.
‘The process of reviewing X-rays has since changed in Fife and all X-rays of infants under 12 months will now be viewed by a paediatric radiologist.’
Miss Ferguson said the baby’s mother ‘seemed more concerned for the welfare of, and attentive to, Mr McKay’ than tending to the needs of her critically inured daughter.
She said: ‘In a strongly worded police statement, a family liaison officer describes interrupting “intimate relations” within the family room when she went through to advise Mrs Davidson that Hayley’s life support machine was about to be switched off.
‘At the time of Hayley’s death Mrs Davidson held her daughter in her arms. After a few minutes she indicated she needed to be with Mr McKay.’
Solicitor advocate John Scott, defending, said McKay – who has two sons of his own living with his former partner in Inverness – was an ex-soldier who had served four years in the army, including duty in the Middle East.
He said the defence was in the process of obtaining a psychiatric report to show whether he suffered PTSD as a result of his military service.
Deferring sentence, Lord Uist told McKay: ‘You have plead guilty to the grave crime of causing the death of a baby by shaking her.
‘As Mr Scott has recognised on your behalf, this is bound to result in a custodial sentence.
s’I must, however, before proceeding to sentence, obtain a criminal justice social work report on you as you have never previously served a custodial sentence.
‘I am prepared to continue bail, but this must not be taken by you as a sign that a custodial sentence will not follow.’
Adjourning the case for background reports, judge Lord Uist also told McKay he would pass sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday May 10. He continued McKay’s bail in the meantime to allow him to spend time with his two sons.