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Mum-of-five, 28, who killed her six-week-old baby by shaking him to death is jailed for nine years

A MUM-OF-FIVE has been caged for nine years after being found guilty of manslaughter for shaking her six-week-old baby son to death.

Chelsea Cuthbertson, 28, had denied shaking Malakai Watts despite doctors concluding the tragic infant suffered a cardiac arrest which was most likely caused by a “non-accidental injury”.


Chelsea Cuthbertson was found guilty of manslaughter[/caption]


The mum-of-five, 28, had been convicted at Winchester Crown Court[/caption]

Cuthbertson had previously told the murder trial how the twins had been asleep when she woke up that morning
Cuthbertson claimed she’d gone outside to smoke a cannabis joint and returned to find her baby had turned blue

Cuthbertson was today sentenced for manslaughter at Winchester Crown Court.

The judge slated the mum for lying throughout her trial – and even blaming Malakai’s death on his dad, Dell Watts, who told the court he had been left devastated.

The court had heard during the trial that Malakai was “grey from head to toe” when police arrived at Cuthbertson’s flat following her 999 call on February 2, 2019.

He was rushed from the property in Hythe, near Southampton, Hants, to Southampton General Hospital, but tragically died four days later after he was taken off life support.

Jurors were told he died from a traumatic head injury.

An examination showed the boy had several other injuries, including eight fractured ribs, with at least one being from a previous incident.

Giving evidence, Cuthbertson insisted she never hurt Malakai but had no explanation for his injuries – claiming she had gone outside to smoke a cannabis joint for 15 minutes and returned to find that her baby had turned blue.

But today, the court heard one of Cuthbertson’s children had said following the incident: “That is not how Malakai died, mummy hit his head.”

The child made the comment when talking with two other children and was not present when Cuthbertson shook Malakai but was in the house at the time, the court heard.

On Tuesday July 20, following a five-week trial at Winchester Crown Court, Hants, Cuthbertson was convicted of manslaughter.

Jurors delivered a majority verdict after 13 hours and 57 minutes of deliberation. The jury had unanimously decided she was not guilty of murder.

That is not how Malakai died, mummy hit his head.

Cuthbertson's child

Sentencing her to nine years’ jail, The Hon Mr Justice Robin Spencer today said: “Only you know precisely what you did to Malakai to cause those fatal injuries.

“Only you know why you did it.

“By assaulting your son in this way you grossly abused your position of trust. He was a helpless baby.”

She was also told: “It was your duty as his mother to protect him. Instead you shook him knowing how dangerous it was to do so, and you squeezed him hard enough to fracture three of his ribs.”

Mr Justice Spencer added that Cuthbertson had ‘falsely’ and ‘shamelessly’ accused the baby’s father of the murder during the trial.

He said: “You falsely and shamelessly placed the blame on Dell Watts.

“Although you were reluctant to blame him in your police interviews, at trial you dishonestly accused Dell Watts of inflicting the fatal injuries before he left for work that morning.

“You knew he was innocent. You knew how distressing it must have been for him to be accused of killing his own son.

“I accept that initially at least you were overcome with remorse. That was tempered by the lies you immediately began to tell in covering up for what you had done.

“True remorse would have been shown by a frank and honest admission of responsibility as the outset, followed in due course by a guilty plea.”


Cuthbertson had one child from a previous relationship and then met car valet Watts, who was the father of Malakai, his twin, and two other children.

Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, told jurors there was an “escalating resentment” in the couple’s love-hate relationship which was evident in text messages Cuthbertson had sent to Mr Watts.

She said Cuthbertson was frustrated with Mr Watts because she felt he did not help around the house and with the children, particularly when he returned to work shortly after Malakai was born.

Some of those text messages were read out in court by Ms Howes, with Cuthbertson writing, “I’m sick of doing everything and being in all the time”, “my home isn’t a hotel and it’s just going back to when you lived here before” and “people make time for their family, you never do”.

Her resentment and anger reached such a point that morning that she took it out on Malakai

Ms Howes QC

Ms Howes added: “These texts indicated an escalating resentment towards Dell Watts.”

The couple argued the night before Malakai stopped breathing and in the morning shortly before Cuthbertson called for an ambulance, it was heard.

Ms Howes said: “Her resentment and anger reached such a point that morning that she took it out on Malakai, squeezing him around the chest, shaking him and then causing an impact to his head.

“Her intention at that time must have been to cause him harm even if the catalyst was to take out her resentment on him.”

Cuthbertson told the court she went outside to smoke cannabis before coming back in to wake the twins for their morning feed and finding Malakai blue in the face.

She said she went outside and shut the door while she smoked the cannabis for about 15 minutes but believed she would have been able to hear the babies if they cried.

When she went back in she said she saw “straight away” that Malakai’s face was blue, picked him up and called 999.

I was distraught. I have never seen a child blue before

Chelsea Cuthbertson

She was instructed how to give Christmas Day baby Malakai CPR over the phone by the call handler.

Cuthbertson said: “I was distraught. I have never seen a child blue before. I have never given CPR to anyone let alone a baby.

“That whole day was just crazy, that morning when I had to do the CPR. It felt like a lifetime.”

She previously told the court she would smoke cannabis every day because “it chills me out”.

Despite admitting the drug “mongs you out” she continued to smoke regularly while caring for her eldest daughter as well as Malakai and his twin.

Before Malakai’s death, Cuthbertson sent texts complaining she was “sick” of being in all the time with her kids and that her baby was “whingey” and “hard work”.

In a text to her friend five days, before the baby was injured, Cuthbertson said: “(Malakai) is so whingey, definitely hard work but (the other twin) is easy – I would cry if they were both like it.”

The court heard this text was sent on January 28, 2019 – around the same time that the post-mortem report showed Malakai suffered a rib injury.


In one text to Mr Watts, Cuthbertson described another of her children as “a little cow” and a “little sh*t”.

It read: “(The child) might have a bruise on her cheek tomorrow – the little cow took my glitter eye shadow.

“I went to take her to her bedroom but the little s**t was all slippy so I dropped her and she fell on her face but on her cheek side.”

The court heard Cuthbertson had previously given evidence to a Family Court that she felt abandoned, exploited and left alone with the children.

She also spoke openly about assaulting her firstborn child when he was just six months old.


Cuthbertson admitted pushing down on his forehead “so he stopped crying”, so hard that it left a red mark and he had to be taken to hospital.

She described how she did not tell anyone what happened at first and claimed the red mark on her son’s forehead was caused by a toy dropping on his head.

When she came clean about the incident she was diagnosed with post-natal depression and was dealt with by way of a community resolution.

Cuthbertson was sentenced to nine years in prison. The court heard she had spent time in custody on remand which will count towards that sentence.

After sentencing, an NSPCC spokesperson told The Sun Online: “This is a heartbreaking case where a defenceless baby was subjected to unspeakable suffering by someone who should have nurtured and protected him from harm.

“Young children depend entirely on those caring for them for their safety and wellbeing, so it is of the utmost importance that anyone concerned about the welfare of a child speaks out.

“The NSPCC’s confidential helpline is available seven days a week on 0808 8005000 or by emailing

“If a child is in immediate danger, please call 999.”


Before Malakai’s death, Cuthbertson sent texts complaining she was ‘sick’ of being in all the time with her kids[/caption]

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