A MUM and dad accused of shaking their baby to death blame each other for the catastrophic injuries their nine-day old sustained, a court has heard.

Ava Grace Nolan was pronounced dead in August of 2017 after suffering bleeds on her brain, bruising and a fractured femur. She had only been home from hospital a matter of days when she was subjected to the injuries.

Medical experts believe that the fatal bleed to Ava’s brain was caused by shaking, with prosecutor Mr David McLachlan QC telling the jury during his opening that the newborn had 'literally had her life shaken out of her'.

During the second day of trial at Preston Crown Court, barristers representing Sophie Nash and Daniel Nolan said the pair ‘blamed each other’ for injuries which resulted in Ava’s death.

Speaking on behalf of Nolan, Mark Ford QC said: “My client denies all of the allegations that he faces. He denies causing injury to Ava Grace but accepts the medical evidence that suggests her injuries were non-accidental.

“Mr Nolan did not witness the infliction of any injury accidental or otherwise of Ava. As the only person with responsibility for Ava’s care being Mr Nolan and his former partner, he has been driven to the conclusion Ms Nash must have caused the injuries which caused Ava’s death as well as those that preceded them.”

Mr Ford QC went on to say that Nolan was not aware and does not accept that he ought to have been aware that Ava was at risk from Nash – who while he claimed was ‘sometimes abusive towards him’ he never believed could have been capable of harming Ava.

For Nash, Ms Smart QC argued that a ‘crucial aspect of the case’ was the dynamic of the relationship between the two defendants at the time of Ava’s death.

Ms Smart said: “You know now that each defendants says he or she was not in any way assault or ill-treat Ava or witness such an assault or ill-treatment. By implication they blame each other.

“We submit that Mr Nolan had a very short temper and was the more dominant partner in the relationship. However it is also our case that at no time did Ms Nash ever foresee he might be capable of harming Ava.”

Nash’s barrister went on to tell the jury some background on her client, which included who she had been brought up in Winchester and moved to Manchester and then Nelson after meeting Nolan.

Ms Smart said: “We suggest on behalf of Ms Nash that it was Mr Nolan who was the controlling force in the relationship.”

The trial, which is expected to last six weeks, proceeds.