A father was sentenced to life in prison for shaking his nine-week-old baby to death during a “momentary” fit of rage.
A judge ruled that Leon Mathias, 34, inflicted “grotesque” violence on his son, Hunter, at their Barnsley home.
After being rushed to the hospital in November 2018, the infant died of severe brain injuries.
Mathias, of Stonebridge Lane in Greater Houghton, was sentenced to a minimum of 16 years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court.
Mrs. Justice Lambert told the labourer his actions were “truly horrifying” and “difficult to comprehend”.
Mathias had shown “no remorse or emotion” during his trial, which began in November, she claimed.
After the sentence was passed, family members in the public gallery shouted “we are all behind you” and “we know you’re innocent” as Mathias was led away.
During his trial, the court heard that the father-of-one “snapped” and vigorously shaken his son after bathing him after a long day at work on 30 November 2018.
Hunter was taken to Barnsley Hospital in cardiac arrest and then transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where he died three days later.
A medical examination revealed that he had suffered severe brain and eye injuries, as well as scalp bruising and leg fractures.
Mathias was arrested in December 2018, but his charges were not filed until February 2021. He denied shaking his son, but on January 30, he was found guilty of murder.
Hunter’s vulnerability, as well as the “clear position of trust existing between the defendant and his son,” according to prosecutor Tom Storey, were aggravating factors in the killing.
Mathias, whose wife stood by him throughout his trial, was described by friends and family as a loving and dedicated father.
Peter Griffiths KC, in mitigation, said Mathias’s actions were “completely and utterly out of character” and “over in a matter of seconds”.
He added a “harrowing” 999 call played to the court during the trial made it “quite clear he did his best immediately after the incident to help his son”.
The barrister had asked the judge to consider a “significantly lower” minimum term than the sentencing guidance starting point of 15 years.
“The defendant will have to live the rest of his life with the conviction of murdering his firstborn son,” Mr Griffiths said.
“This is a terrible cross to bear for anyone.”