A man who murdered his seven-week-old son tried to portray himself as a heartbroken father by sharing tributes and asking for donations to the funeral.
Oliver Mailey, 26, was arrested soon after little Abel-Jax died in hospital from a brain injury which doctors said was consistent with the ‘force of a car crash’.
Mailey, from Burnley, Lancashire, eventually confessed in court to shaking the baby to death after flying into a ‘fit of madness’ when he wouldn’t stop crying, and was jailed for life on Wednesday.
But he initially denied wrongdoing and pointed suspicion toward Abel-Jax’s mum, Mollie Gorton, and her other son, who has not been named.
After being released under investigation shortly after Abel-Jax’s death in November 2021, repeatedly posted on Facebook calling his victim ‘spud’ and saying how much he loved and missed him.
In February 2022 he shared a link to a Gofundme appeal set up by Mollie to raise money for the boy’s funeral.
Alongside the link he shared a picture of the boy and wrote: ‘Please can everyone help me to lay my little spud to rest a little donations we are struggling to lay him to rest and give him the best send off he needs.’
Another post showed Mailey cradling the boy with the caption: ‘Words couldn’t explain how much I need you and miss you spud daddy loves you and will never stop doing.’
The 26-year-old went so far as to get a tattoo of the boy’s name and birth date on his neck.
He shared a picture in July – the same month he was charged with murder – in which the tattoo appeared to be fresh, captioning it: ‘Love you spud.’
The posts provoked outrage on social media, with one user commenting: ‘You killed him?? And you’re sick enough to post pictures like your father of the f***ing year.’
Another added: ‘You’ve got to be joking me. How sick and twisted can one person be!!!!!! You’ve taken peoples money to fund the poor boys funeral who you killed. Horrific lowest of the low. I hope to God you get everything you deserve.’
Mollie had been cleared of suspicion two weeks after Abel-Jax’s death after police determined she could not have been at home when the baby was injured.
Mailey continued to lie about hurting Abel until December 2022, when he admitted manslaughter but continued to deny murder.
Preston Crown Court heard Mailey was a regular cannabis user, and was unaware shaking could cause serious harm, despite a health visitor warning both parents about its dangers during a routine home visit.
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: ‘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.’
Mailey must serve a minimum of 16 years before he is eligible for parole.
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