Father Who Killed His 39-Day Old Baby Has Sentence Increased

James Dean Clarke has had his sentence increased by the Court of Appeal


A father who murdered his 39-day old baby will spend longer in prison after the Solicitor General, Alex Chalk QC MP referred his original sentence to the Court of Appeal as unduly lenient.


James Dean Clarke, 31, inflicted injuries on his young baby, Sean Clarke, which resulted in his death. On the morning of 14 January 2018, the child’s mother found the victim unresponsive in his cot.


A post-mortem concluded the baby had sustained a total of 74 fractures to his ribs which had been inflicted on at least 3 separate occasions. The injuries were consistent with the baby having been shaken violently shortly before his death. While some of the injuries were recent, there was evidence others were not and had begun to heal.


On 24 September at Bristol Crown Court, Clarke was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 15 years.


The Solicitor General, Alex Chalk QC MP, referred Clarke’s sentence to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.


On 19 November the Court of Appeal found his original sentence to be unduly lenient and increased it to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years.


Speaking after the hearing, the Solicitor General, Alex Chalk QC MP said:

This was a deeply upsetting and disturbing case, involving an extremely vulnerable victim. Clarke grossly abused his position of trust and his actions stole the life of an innocent child he should have been protecting. It is only right the sentence has been increased to reflect the severity of the crime.