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Teen mum jailed for shaken baby death

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/04/2016

A young Gisborne mum has been jailed for two years after she shook her newborn son to stop him crying and he died.

Myra Paea was sentenced in the High Court in Gisborne on Thursday after earlier pleading guilty to manslaughter.

In December 2014 she was just 18, when home alone with her seven-week old baby Milton, she became stressed out and frustrated at his continued crying.

She yelled at him to be quiet, and picked him up and rocked him to a point where she was shaking him.

Later that evening she noticed Milton was not swallowing and would not take a bottle.

Her partner heard the baby gurgling at about 6am, realised he was not breathing and attempted CPR, but the baby died in hospital later that morning.

A post-mortem revealed he suffered brain bleeding consistent with being shaken.

According to a report, Paea expressed sorry and regret but could not acknowledge her culpability, although she considered imprisonment would allow her to make some amendments for Milton's death.

In sentencing her, Justice Geoffrey Venning took into account her age and the fact it was a one-off incident.

"Young and defenceless infants or children are killed by young and inadequate parents who do not have sufficient skills or maturity to enable them to cope with the responsibilities and demands of parenthood," he said.

Justice Venning said he could not consider a sentence of anything less than imprisonment.

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