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Mother, 31, and father, 30, are jailed for causing the death of their nine-day-old baby

A mother and father have been jailed for a total of 18 years for causing the death of their nine-day-old baby who died ‘her life was literally shaken from her’.

Ava Grace Nolan was Found unresponsive by paramedics at her family home in Nelson, Lancashire, on Aug. 16, 2017.

Shortly after midnight she was pronounced dead in the hospital and post-mortem examination revealed that Ava died of a ‘catastrophic’ head injury, probably caused by vigorous shaking.

Further investigation revealed that Ava, who weighed just six pounds 10 oz, also suffered a separate brain injury and a broken leg, believed to have sustained her in the days before her death.

Her parents Sophie Nash, 31, and Daniel Nolan, 30, blamed each other for Ava’s injuries and neither took responsibility for harming her, Preston Crown Court heard.

On Friday, Nolan was sentenced to 10 years in prison and his former partner Nash sentenced to eight years after they were both found guilty by a jury of causing or allowing the death of a child. Both denied the charges.

Sophie Nash, 31, and Daniel Nolan (pictured), 30, have been jailed for a total of 18 years for causing the death of their nine-day-old baby Ava Grace Nolan

Prosecutors said nine-day-old baby Ava Grace Nolan (pictured with mother Sophie Nash) 'literally had her life shaken off'

Sophie Nash (right), 31, and Daniel Nolan (left), 30, have been jailed for a total of 18 years for causing the death of their nine-day-old baby Ava Grace Nolan

Ava Grace Nolan was found unresponsive by paramedics at her childhood home in Nelson, Lancashire, on August 16, 2017.  Pictured: Her mother Sophie Nash

Ava Grace Nolan was found unresponsive by paramedics at her family home in Nelson, Lancashire, on August 16, 2017. Pictured: Her mother Sophie Nash

Nolan was also convicted of causing or allowing serious bodily harm to a child, in connection with the shocking injuries Ava sustained in the days before she died.

Nash was also found guilty of the same charge and an additional count of cruelty to a person under 16.

David McLachlan, QC, continued, said Ava suffered a fractured femur and brain injury in the days before a second fatal head injury occurred.

He told the jury: ‘We make it absolutely clear to you that we cannot say who did what.

“We can’t say of Nash or Nolan, who inflicted the injuries in this case, but the prosecution says it was one of them and couldn’t be anyone else.”

In a Facebook post from last October, Nash posted a photo of her hugging Nolan and said, “This man is my rock. I would be lost without him. he’s the only man for me.’

On the fourth anniversary of Ava’s death, the couple, now separated, spent the night in Blackpool to celebrate Nolan’s 30th birthday.

When Ava was born on August 8, 2017, she was what you would expect from a “fit and healthy” newborn baby, the prosecutor said.

Ava's (pictured) post-mortem examination revealed she died of a 'catastrophic' head injury, likely caused by vigorous shaking

Ava’s (pictured) post-mortem examination revealed she died of a ‘catastrophic’ head injury, likely caused by vigorous shaking

The court heard that Nolan and Nash ignored professional support from midwives and only allowed someone to visit their newborn if they were threatened by the police.

Midwives had been at the house on August 12, 13 and 14, but the entrance was failed on each of those occasions, the court was told.

When the midwife finally contacted the family, she was pleased that Ava was happy and healthy, she only noticed that she had a slight yellow tinge, which could indicate jaundice.

Mr McLachlan added: “The prosecution’s case is that shortly after that visit, Ava suffered her first brain injury and also a fractured femur.

“In reality, the next day would be the last day of Ava’s life.”

Shortly after 5pm on Aug. 15, a police officer made a health check at the address after being approached by concerned midwives and again all seemed to be in order, although Ava was noted to be nagging.

Later that evening, Nolan called the Burnley Birthing Center and said that Ava was not feeling well and that her “breathing was not good.”

The midwife on the phone told Nolan to call an ambulance, the court heard.

Paramedics arrived within moments at an unresponsive Ava, who later stopped breathing.

Efforts in the ambulance and hospital to resuscitate Ava were unsuccessful. The nine-day-old baby was pronounced dead shortly after midnight on August 16.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Ava had two brain injuries, bruising to her body and a broken femur.

Medical experts concluded that the bleeding in her brain was most likely caused by trembling.

Her parents Sophie Nash, 31, and Daniel Nolan (pictured), 30, blamed each other for Ava's injuries and neither took responsibility for harming the newborn.

Her parents Sophie Nash, 31, and Daniel Nolan (pictured), 30, blamed each other for Ava’s injuries and neither took responsibility for harming the newborn.

Further investigation revealed that Ava, who weighed just six pounds 10 oz, also suffered a separate brain injury and a broken leg, believed to have sustained her in the days before her death.

Medical experts concluded that the bleeding in her brain was most likely caused by trembling.  Pictured: Nash and Nolan

Investigation revealed that Ava (left) also suffered a separate brain injury and a broken leg, believed to have sustained her in the days before her death. Pictured on the right: Nash and Nolan

Nash would also routinely pick up Ava from her baby shower, resulting in her head tipping back, the court heard.

Nash, who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism, admitted he was out of touch with health care professionals, but added, “I was overwhelmed with groups and all. It got too much and it was just a stupid mistake.’

Mr McLachlan told the court that life had been “literally” shaken out of Ava, saying she “didn’t stand much of a chance.”

He added: ‘The prosecution says it is up to them’ [Nolan and Nash] and they are responsible for her death.

“While on watch, Ava Grace Nolan suffered serious, non-accidental traumatic injuries.

“At least one of them caused the injuries and the other knew it.

“The last injury was to cause death when her life was literally shaken out of her. She didn’t really stand a chance.’

The jury heard Nash, who studies medical science with a view to working in cancer research, and Nolan had been engaged in a “toxic and volatile” relationship since they met through a dating app in early 2016.

They initially lived in Middleton, near Rochdale, but when Nash became pregnant with Ava, they moved to Nelson, where neighbors commented on various quarrels between the couple.

Nash and Nolan have received a total of 18 years in prison after being found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child at Preston Crown Court (pictured).  They both denied the charges

Nash and Nolan have received a total of 18 years in prison after being found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child at Preston Crown Court (pictured). They both denied the charges

After the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Jill Johnston of Lancashire Police said they were unable to prove which parent inflicted the injuries that caused Ava’s death, but said they were “both ultimately responsible”.

She continued, “Neither parent has ever accepted responsibility for harming Ava, with both Nolan and Nash blaming each other.

“While we have not been able to prove who inflicted those horrific injuries that caused their daughter’s death, we have been able to prove that they are both ultimately responsible.

“One of them shook baby Ava to death and the other let it happen.

“None of them sought medical attention for the initial injuries Ava sustained in those very short days of her life, and I suspect they put off the night of her death seeking medical attention until it was definitely too late.

“Nolan and Nash were blessed with a healthy girl, a newborn baby that they should have loved, nurtured and protected from harm.

“To think that they are responsible for her death is unthinkable.

“The couple admitted they had an extremely volatile and abusive relationship, which put baby Ava at significant risk, which ultimately proved fatal.”

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