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A father has been jailed for life for shaking his baby daughter to death because he wanted to watch a football match on TV.

Neil Smith, 33, killed four-month-old Hope Sofia while looking after her on his own for the first time while wife Nicola went out for the night.

Just ten minutes after Nicola made a FaceTime call to check on her daughter, she received a call saying the tot was ‘floppy and lifeless’.

Nicola rushed back to their home in Salters Road, Walsall, West Midlands, and Hope was taken to hospital and slipped into a coma.

Tragically, her life support machine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital was switched off a few months after the November that year.

A post mortem revealed Hope had suffered catastrophic brain injuries, consistent with being shaken and thrown onto the sofa.

A court heard he was watching football on TV on August 4, 2017, when he violently shook the tot before slamming her down on a soft surface.

Smith, of Willenhall, West Midlands, was found guilty of murder following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Smith, who suffered head injuries after an industrial accident in 2015, was sentenced to life and ordered to serve a minimum of 13 years in prison.

In a statement her mother Nicola said: ‘My daughter was perfect to me, I loved her, I still love her, my beautiful baby girl.

‘When Hope Sofia was born it was like the last part of a puzzle fitting into place.

‘The date 4 August 2017, the day she was taken to hospital, was one of the worst days of my life but it got worse.

‘Soon after Hope Sofia’s admission to hospital, doctors began to explain that she had suffered serious ‘non accidental’ injuries and she was unlikely to survive them.

‘My baby girl survived for three months until she died on 9 November 2017.

‘My husband stood accused of causing these awful injuries and was eventually charged.

‘I listened to the injuries he caused, graphically described by doctors and experts, during the trial.

‘Her own father shook her so hard he killed her.

‘I cannot forgive him for what he has done, I loved that man, I cared for that man, I loved him, for better for worse and in sickness and in health; but he snatched away our daughter’s life and has not been brave enough to accept it or to tell anyone why he did it.

‘We cannot get closure because the question will always be, why did he do this?

‘I will miss Hope Sofia every day and I will miss experiencing the life she would have had, those things other mothers get to share with their daughters, the things you take for granted.

‘She will miss all of the opportunities in life to be a daughter, a granddaughter and a sister.’

Speaking after the case on Friday, DS Nick Barnes said: ‘We will never really know what caused Smith to turn so aggressive and violent against his own daughter.

‘He appeared intent on watching a football match on TV that night and maybe the frustration of having to care for the needs of his own flesh and blood manifested itself.

‘But whatever the reason, there can never be any justification for leaving his very young daughter with catastrophic injuries.

‘This has left a devastating impact on the rest of family who are still coping with their loss.’

News source: MetroNews

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