A father suffering from post-natal depression searched the internet for information on how to kill a baby – then suffocated his six-month-old daughter, a court has heard.
Architect Mark Bruton-Young, 36, (above with wife Clare) allegedly murdered his young daughter Harriet after he spiralled into depression after her birth.
A court heard the new dad used search engine Google to research methods of killing little Harriet after he failed to bond with her – blaming the baby on his marriage problems.
Bruton-Young spent months on a work computer searching for ways to kill including punching babies in the stomach, cot death, choking and even poisoning – before he settled on suffocation, the jury heard.
Paul Dunkels, prosecuting, said: ”It is the prosecution’s case that having searched the internet for this information, being overwhelmed with being a father and resenting his child, he killed his daughter Harriet by suffocating her.
”This was sometime between the end of June 26 and beginning of June 27, 2009 when she was six months old.”
Bristol Crown Court heard that Harriet was an unplanned, unwanted child when she was born to Mark and mum Clare – also an architect – of Kingsway, Glos., in December 2008.
Bruton-Young, an architect at Bristol firm RPS, had problems coping with the birth almost immediately.
Colleagues described him as ”depressed” and claimed he spent all his time on his computer.
Mr Dunkels told the jury: ”It was not a planned pregnancy and from the outset her father had difficulty in coming to terms with fatherhood and was depressed by it.
”He resented the intrusion of Harriet into his married life. Using a computer at work to search for information, it provided a window into his thoughts and his intentions.
”Initially, he searched for information on bonding with your baby, depression and coping with fatherhood.”
But in early February 2009 Bruton-Young used a work computer to look at how to get an unwanted baby adopted.
Bruton-Young searched for information on how a child might be harmed or die and a baby being suffocated and what signs might be detected if a baby was suffocated.”
Forensic searches on the hard-drives of three work computers found that Bruton-Young made hundreds of searches between January 2009 and June.
In January he Googled ‘coming to terms with fatherhood’.
But by February these had developed into post natal depression searches and even ‘I thought I wanted kids but now I don’t know’.
Over the next few months his searches explored death by anti-freeze poisoning, lead poisoning and even the effects of punching a child in the stomach.
He also looked at the effects on a baby ingesting faeces before he searched ‘dies of suffocation’ on June 8, 2009.
Mr Dunkels said: ”The defendant’s searches begin to concentrate on suffocation and the signs that might be left behind if a baby was suffocated.”
The court head Bruton-Young had received counselling and was seeing a health visitor in the six months following Harriet’s birth.
In April, the counselling service Gate Post noted that he was finding it difficult to adjust to fatherhood.
Mr Bruton-Young denies murder.
The trial, expected to last three weeks, continues tomorrow.