A FATHER convicted of killing his five-month-old son by shaking him to death has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Lee Clark, 28, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Charlee Cameron Clark by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court today.

Charlee died in the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), in Newcastle, on March 1, 2011, five days after being admitted to hospital with bleeding and swelling to the brain and bleeding behind the eyes.

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Clark caused the injuries by shaking his baby while looking after him alone at the family home in Neville Close, in Gainford, County Durham.

His then fiancé Natalie Holmes was out shopping for new clothes for Charlee's christening, which was planned for two days after he fell ill.

Speaking after the verdict, she said: “Words cannot describe the devastation I feel at the loss of my beautiful baby son Charlee.

"It’s now almost two years since Charlee’s death and I cannot say how much we as a family miss him and just how difficult it has been trying to come to terms with our tragic loss.

"Charlee was such a happy, relaxed gorgeous baby boy who was always smiling and we continue to think of him and miss him every day.

"Following today’s verdict we as a family feel relieved that the truth is out and justice has been done for Charlee.

"We would now ask that we are left in peace to grieve our loss and begin to try and recover from this.”

Detective Superintendent Adrian Green, the man leading the police investigation, said: “This has been a complex two year investigation into the death of Charlee Clarke, a happy and healthy baby, killed at the hands of his father.

"Throughout the course of the investigation Mr Clark has failed to assist the police and in doing so has brought further pain and anguish on his then partner Natalie.

"I hope the verdict has provided the answers the family sought and takes them some way further towards coping with the loss of Charlee.

"I hope the sentence given by the Judge provides the time for Lee to reflect on the damage and hurt he has caused."

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