A NINE-day-old baby who ‘literally had the life shaken from her’ sustained catastrophic and ultimately fatal injuries at the hands of her own parents, a jury has been told.

Ava Grace Nolan had only been home days before she was rushed to the Royal Blackburn Hospital with life-ending brain injuries.

Preston Crown Court heard how midwives had made several attempts to visit mum Sophie Nash and the baby in the days before her death and that the police had to be called to conduct a welfare check.

Nash, and her partner Daniel Nolan, Ava’s father, stand trial accused of causing or allowing the child injury and causing or allowing her death.

During the opening day of their trial, Mr David McLachlan QC said that baby Ava had sustained a fractured femur and brain injury in the days before a second fatal head injury occurred.

The jury were told about the sometimes ‘volatile’ and ‘toxic’ relationship between Nash, 31, and Nolan, 30, and of a history of issues which the couple had struggled with.

“It is the prosecution’s case that the defendants - Ava’s father and her mother - were responsible for the injuries that she sustained during her short life and that they are also responsible for neglect that she suffered,” Mr McLachlan said.

“We make it absolutely clear to you that we cannot say who in fact did what.

“We cannot say out of Nash or Nolan, who inflicted the injuries in this case, however the prosecution say that it was one of them and could not have been anyone else.”

The jury were told how Nolan, from Manchester, and Nash, from Winchester, had a whirlwind romance after meeting on a dating app in 2016, with the pair moving in together in Middleton, when Nash fell pregnant.

The couple’s first child was born and soon after Nash became pregnant again, this time with Ava.

At this stage the pair decided they wanted to make a ‘fresh start’ and moved to Nelson. However during this time they experienced several arguments and difficulties.

When she was born on August 8, 2017, Ava was how you would expect a ‘fit and healthy’ newborn baby to be, the prosecutor said. She was examined by doctors, nurses and midwives before being discharged after three days.

It was heard a day after arriving home, Nash and Nolan hosted a party and friends and family of the pair attended. On that date a midwife went over to check on the young family, but there was no answer at the door.

At some stage during that afternoon the police were also called after an altercation took place between Nolan - who was holding a frying pan - and his neighbour.

Midwives later attended at the house on the 12th, 13th and 14th and entry were unsuccessful on each of those occasions.

Mr McLachlan QC went on to say that on the 15th another midwife attempted to call the couple. He said: “She got no reply and left a message stating her concern. She stated in clear and simple terms that if the midwives were not allowed access, the matter would be referred to the police for them to conduct a welfare visit.”

Shortly after this contact was made and the midwife was able to conduct a full post-natal examination – leaving content that Ava was happy and healthy, noting only that she had a slight yellow tinge about her, which could have been indicative of jaundice.

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

“In reality the next day was to be the last day of Ava’s life.”

On the 15th at shortly after 5pm, a police officer conducted a welfare check at the address having been contacted by concerned midwives and once again all seemed fine though it was noted baby Ava was whingeing.

Later that night Nolan called the Burnley Birthing Centre saying that Ava was not feeling well and that her ‘breathing wasn’t right’. The midwife on the phone told Nolan to call an ambulance.

Paramedics arrived within moments to an unresponsive baby Ava who later stopped breathing.

Attempts were made both in the ambulance and later at the hospital to revive her but were unsuccessful. The nine-day-old was pronounced dead shortly after midnight on August 16.

A Post mortem exam revealed two injuries to Ava’s brain, bruising to her body and a fractured femur.

Medical experts concluded the bleeds to her brain were most likely caused by shaking.

Mr McLachlan added: “The prosecution say that it is on them and they are responsible for her death.”

He added: “On their watch Ava Grace Nolan sustained severe, non-accidental traumatic injuries.

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

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

Both Nash and Nolan deny the charges.