Dad’s shocking Google searches before his newborn son died from ‘catastrophic’ head injuries
- Bradley Hooper pleaded guilty to child homicide
- Newborn died from ‘violent shaking’ and head impact
- Infant collapsed on September 29, 2021
A father will be jailed after shaking his newborn son, causing catastrophic brain injuries that resulted in his death two days later, and lying to the boy’s mother in a bid to save himself.
Bradley Hooper returned before the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday for a pre-sentence hearing after pleading guilty to child homicide.
The court was told Hooper, then 32, was caring for his newborn son Alex while his partner was recovering from an emergency caesarean in mid-2021.
The infant collapsed on September 29, 2021, before being rushed to hospital by paramedics.
He was later found to have died from injuries sustained in ‘violent shaking’ and a possible head impact.
Crown prosecutor Stephanie Clancy told the court that Hooper failed to disclose to his wife and paramedics that he had shaken the infant two days earlier.
‘The offender was more concerned about concealing his own guilt rather than ensuring the medical professionals have all the information they needed to treat Alex,’ she said.
‘The offending involves a significant breach of trust for Alex and his mother.’
Bradley Hooper returned before the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday for a pre-sentence hearing after pleading guilty to child homicide (stock image)
Ms Clancy submitted other fractures found on the child had been inflicted by Hooper on earlier occasions, but he had insisted this was an ‘isolated incident’.
‘Given that’s not conceded, Your Honour will have to make a finding,’ she told Justice Lex Lasry.
‘He’s minimising, even putting aside his denial that he has inflicted previous harm … there were head impacts relating to the shaking event.
‘The prosecution submits this increases his moral culpability.’
Ms Clancy argued Hooper’s Google search history at the time indicated he had ‘awareness of the risks’.
She said during the baby’s short life his search history recorded queries such as ‘brain damage signs in newborn’.
Hooper’s barrister, Heather Anderson, told the court that her client was suffering from a ‘myriad of issues’, including undiagnosed depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
‘The evidence suggests this impacted his ability to cope and make reasonable decisions,’ she said.
She argued there was no conclusive evidence of Alex’s head impacting a soft or hard surface in addition to the shaking as the prosecution is arguing.
Ms Anderson said the offending occurred during Covid lockdowns when Hooper was juggling work and care responsibilities for the couple’s other two children.
The court was told Hooper, then 32, was caring for his newborn son Alex while his partner was recovering from an emergency caesarean in mid-2021 (pictured, Supreme Court of Victoria)
Hooper, she said, had received mental health treatment while on bail for almost 19 months and had good prospects for rehabilitation.
Ms Clancy countered that while his mental health might help explain the context of the offending it ‘simply can’t’ reduce his culpability for the offending.
‘It simply can’t be the case that the pressures of raising a small child … mitigates the offending,’ she said.
She told the court the prosecution conceded the evidence suggested Hooper was a ‘loving and caring father’ to the couple’s other children.
Justice Lasry adjourned sentencing to a later date, saying he wanted to give the matter some thought.
He remanded Hooper into custody, saying there were ‘no prospects of receiving a non-custodial sentence’.
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