Former soldier faces jail time after allegedly shaking girlfriend's five-month-old baby to death

Gordon McKay shook his girlfriend's five-month-old daughter so hard that she sustained serious brain injuries and died. He had previously also inflicted a fracture on the infant.


                            Former soldier faces jail time after allegedly shaking girlfriend's five-month-old baby to death
Gordon McKay shook Hayley Davidson (right) to death at his home (Police photos)
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38-year-old ex-soldier Gordon McKay may possibly be facing jail time after he admitted to shaking his girlfriend's five-month-old daughter, Hayley Davidson, so violently that it led to significant head trauma and the infant's eventual death. When confronted, McKay denied murdering the child but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide at the High Court in Livingston.

McKay, who was dating Hayley's mother Catherine Davidson, was at his residence in Buckhaven, Fife, on Valentine's Day in 2016 watching over the five-month-old. Considering he lived a few doors down the road from Davidson, Hayley had been put in his care as the mother readied her two other daughters for a day out with their grandmother.

Davidson then received an ominously-worded text message from McKay which asked her to come quickly to his apartment, causing her to bolt down the street to his house with her daughters in tow. When she arrived, she found McKay to be leaning over the infant administering CPR.

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He claimed to Davidson and the police that he left the infant alone to run a bath and that when he returned, Hayley had wriggled down the beanbag and was unresponsive. He said he tried to shake her three or four times in an effort to revive her, saying that her head had 'whipped backward and forwards' in response.

Davidson said that the handler instructed McKay on how to perform an age-appropriate CPR by placing Hayley on a hard surface. Paramedics arrived at the residence within seven minutes and say they found the mother in a 'distressed state' and McKay giving CPR to the infant who was 'pale, floppy, and unresponsive.' 

McKay confirmed he shook the baby to doctors the Royal Hospital for Sick Children where she was being treated, prompting them to conduct a scan which would reveal a bleed around the infant's brain consistent with head trauma. Medical professionals said that the five-month-old had little chance to survive such an injury and on February 17, after brain stem tests confirmed no activity, she was taken off life support.

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But this was allegedly not the first time that McKay laid hands on the infant either. Court records state the comments of advocate depute Jane Farquharson, prosecuting, who said that Hayley had had to get treatment for a broken arm on New Year's Day, 2016 - three months into Davidson's relationship with McKay.

She said that McKay took responsibility for the fracture, confirming that social services were notified but did not intervene. She added that the scans and X-rays taken during her hospital stay in February revealed a number of healing fractures over various parts of her body.

The court heard that Davidson had developed an 'obsessive' relationship with McKay; she was reportedly engaging in a sexual act with the ex-soldier in the family room of the hospital when doctors came in to tell her that her daughter would be taken off life support.

Farquharson said that the pair denied taking drugs but forensic tests showed that they had smoked cannabis together with Hayley in the room the night before the infant was seriously injured and that the mother 'seemed more concerned for the welfare of, and attentive to, Mr. McKay' than tending to the needs of her daughter.

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Solicitor advocate John Scott, defending, said that his client was an ex-soldier who had served four years in the army and that the defense was in the process of procuring a psychiatric report which would confirm that he suffered from PTSD as a result of his service.

Presiding Lord Uist addressed McKay and told him: "You have pleaded guilty to the grave crime of causing the death of a baby by shaking her. As Mr Scott has recognized on your behalf, this is bound to result in a custodial sentence."

"I must, however, before proceeding to sentence, obtain a criminal justice social work report on you as you have never previously served a custodial sentence. I am prepared to continue bail, but this must not be taken by you as a sign that a custodial sentence will not follow," he added.

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Uist adjourned the case for the background reports and informed McKay that a sentence would be passed at the High Court in Edinburgh on May 10. The ex-soldier's bail was continued so he could spend time with his two sons and he was seen leaving the court with other members of his family.