Dad jailed for manslaughter of teen son who died from baby injuries

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2 min read
John Doak, 37, (centre) arrives at Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex for sentencing. (PA Images)
John Doak, 37 (centre), arrives at Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex for sentencing. (PA Images)

A 37-year-old man has been jailed for the manslaughter of his teenage son, who died years after suffering injuries as a baby.

A post-mortem examination previously found that John Doak Mitchell, who died aged 15 in 2016, suffered a pulmonary infection and pneumonia after receiving brain injuries as a baby.

He had been adopted after the injuries, and police said his non-biological parents had “given him many wonderful years” before he died.

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His father, John Doak, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, admitted his son’s manslaughter at Chelmsford Crown Court on 30 October.

He was jailed for three years on Monday.

General view of Chelmsford Crown Court, in Essex.
General view of Chelmsford Crown Court, in Essex.

He was a healthy child, born on January 2001, but he stopped breathing on four occasions between March and May of that year, when he lived in Laindon, Essex.

He was revived but it was unclear what caused the issues. In each case, Doak was the sole carer present, Essex Police said.

The fourth episode saw the infant taken to hospital, where medics found he had suffered retinal haemorrhages and subdural haematomas, which was seen as evidence of severe trauma.

A paediatrician believed they were caused by “shaken baby syndrome” and despite surviving, Jack received severe brain injury.

Doak was arrested and convicted of grievous bodily harm and given four years in prison in 2002. The boy was taken from his care and given to a foster family and his name was changed.

He would require round-the-clock care. After his death was reviewed, Doak was told to appear at court last year before admitting manslaughter earlier in November.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This is a tragic case of a young man who had any chance of a future taken away by the actions of his father.

“Jack’s injuries he sustained as a child were so severe he required extensive, round-the-clock care.

“John Doak was meant to care for and protect his son but instead deprived him of a future and now faces a significant amount of time in prison.

“My thoughts also go out to Jack’s adoptive parents who had given him many wonderful years before his death. They continue to live with the sad loss of Jack.”

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