Oliver Mailey jailed for 16 years for shaking his baby boy to death

Cannabis-addicted baby killer who shook his eight-week-old ‘miracle son’ to death then let authorities think the mother was to blame is jailed for at least 16 years for murder

  • Cowardly Oliver Mailey violent shock Abel-Jax ‘with the force of a car accident’ 
  • The 26-year-old left his partner to take the blame and ‘lied to save his own skin’

A cannabis-addicted father who shook his eight-week-old ‘miracle son’ to death in a fit of rage – before then trying to blame his partner for the killing – has been jailed. 

Oliver Mailey, 26, shook his helpless son Abel-Jax on at least two separate occasions before a fateful incident on November 27, 2021, when Mailey shook his baby with the ‘force of a car accident’.

When Abel went limp and stopped breathing. Mailey, of Burnley, Lancashire, rang the child’s mother, Mollie Gorton, and her cousin, before calling an ambulance. 

Abel was taken to Blackburn Royal Hospital but later transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital where his life support was withdrawn on November 30. 

On Monday Mailey was convicted of murder, with judge Justice Cotter today jailing him for a minimum of 16 years, saying the cowardly baby killer had ‘lied to save his own skin’, putting himself before his seriously injured child.

Oliver Mailey, 26, denied murdering his son but admitting causing the fatal head injuries in court. He has now  been convicted of murder after a trial and jailed for a minimum of 16 years

Oliver Mailey, 26, denied murdering his son but admitting causing the fatal head injuries in court. He has now  been convicted of murder after a trial and jailed for a minimum of 16 years

Preston Crown Court heard, Mailey was looking after the tot while his partner was at work at Turf Moor FC. But shortly after she arrived at work, Ms Gorton received a video call from Mailey, telling her ‘Abel’s gone weird’. 

Ms Gorton told Mailey to turn the camera to Abel and saw her baby boy limp on his father’s lap. When she saw her son, she screamed at Mailey to call for an ambulance.

Mailey insisted their son had gone floppy after a feed – a story he maintained to the emergency services. 

Mailey and his partner were arrested on suspicion of GBH, and later murder following Abel’s death. Mailey continued to lie about hurting Abel until December 2022 when he admitted manslaughter.

Ahead of sentencing, the prosecution read a victim impact statement from Abel’s mother, LancsLive reports.

She said: ‘I just don’t know how to put into words what has happened. It does not feel real.’

She added: ‘I’m 26 years old and I had to plan my baby’s funeral. I didn’t know where to start or how to do it.

‘The house haunts me. It is filled with so many memories. I live in my bedroom upstairs because I don’t like to be downstairs. I don’t like being alone because when I am on my own I think about it. I do not trust people and don’t think I will trust a man anymore.

‘I feel like I am stuck and not getting to my destination. I’m still numb and can’t process it. It would help if I could talk to someone but I was told not to. All I am focusing on now is trying to rebuild my life.’

Mailey says he did not intend to hurt or harm his son, eight-week-old Abel-Jax, seen here, who later died of injuries as a result of being shaken

Mailey says he did not intend to hurt or harm his son, eight-week-old Abel-Jax, seen here, who later died of injuries as a result of being shaken

When Mailey was confronted about the little tot’s injuries he insisted he would never hurt his ‘miracle baby’ and added he was ‘buzzing’ to be a father.

But on the first day of his trial at Preston Crown Court, Mailey confessed he had shaken Abel on another occasion, around a week before he died. 

He claimed he did not know the child would be seriously injured. He also admitted shaking Abel ‘in a moment of madness’ when he would not stop crying on November 27.

However his partner Mollie and the family’s health visitor confirmed they had been warned of the dangers of shaking during a visit to the home for a routine during the week between the two shaking incidents.

Giving evidence earlier in the trial, Mailey said he was ‘buzzing’ when he learned he was going to be a father.

Tests in a previous relationship confirmed he had a low sperm count and he did not believe he could have children.

When his partner Mollie Gorton fell pregnant five months into their relationship, Mailey said he questioned the baby’s paternity, due to his medical history.

However, he said once he realised his partner was telling the truth he was ‘amazed’. He said he and Ms Gorton had money worries and agreed to try and reduce their cannabis intake, and he took a job as a labourer to make ends meet.

Mailey, of Burnley, said he had been suffering with dental pain for a number of years which kept him awake at night. He was unable to access an NHS dentist and took high strength codeine to relieve his symptoms. He had also stopped taking anti-depressants.

When Abel-Jax was born, in October 2021, Mailey said fatherhood was not what he expected. ‘It was really stressful’, he said. ‘I tried my best.’

Mailey told the court he held the baby in his hands and shook him backwards and forwards

Mailey told the court he held the baby in his hands and shook him backwards and forwards

On November 27, 2021, Mailey took over the care of Abel-Jax at night to allow his partner to sleep, as she was working the following day. He fed, changed and winded the baby two or three times during the night.

Mailey later admitted he shook the little boy a week earlier, causing broken ribs.

He held the baby in his hands and shook him backwards and forwards ‘maybe five times’, he said.

‘It was a moment of madness – to stop him crying. I’d tried to soothe him, rock him. He wouldn’t stop crying. I’d changed his nappy, given him a bottle, everything like that.’ 

During the trial, the court heard Mailey was a regular cannabis user and worked as a landscaper, which often took him away from home for several nights. But he said when he returned ‘dad duties’ resumed and he was hands on.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Cotter said there was nothing unusual about Abel’s behaviour that would have driven Mailey to his ‘wit’s end.’ 

He said Mailey may have been exhausted and suffering dental pain, but the pain had persisted for many years before Abel was born, and waking in the night was ‘part and parcel of having a new baby.’

He said: ‘The evidence before this court showed Mollie to be a loving and devoted mother. Your actions caused her to lose her beloved son.

‘Her family was blown to pieces. She left home to go to work and returned to what would be a living nightmare for any mother. She had to plan her baby’s funeral alone while under suspicion of murder.’

The judge said Mailey must serve at least 16 years before he can apply for parole. However, it will be a decision for the parole board as to whether he is released. He will remain on licence for the rest of his life.

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