Zaria McCall

Zaria McCall

Five-year sentence for Red Deer father who killed baby

Julian Oliver Thomson, accused in the death of his baby daughter, was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday morning.

Julian Oliver Thomson has been sentenced to five years for killing his baby girl in a fit of rage.

Zaria McCall, four months old, died of severe head trauma in the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton a few hours after her father shook her violently, crashing her head against the side of an exercise saucer, and then threw her to the floor.

The attack occurred at about supper time on Friday, Nov. 25, 2011.

Thomson, 22, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Monday and was sentenced before Justice Earl Wilson in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench shortly after 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Court heard that Thomson became enraged after being unable to calm his crying baby.

Wilson, overcome by tears once while delivering his verdict and again after he was finished, admonished Thomson for trying to cast blame on the baby’s mother, Victoria McCall.

The two had broken off their relationship but still lived together in a basement apartment in Red Deer so they could share parenting duties.

Wilson defined Thomson’s statement to police concerning McCall’s behaviour as a “gutless” attempt at shifting pressure to a grieving mother “beyond what she has had to endure with the death of her child.”

Wilson said he could not understand why Thomson, who knew his baby was badly hurt, decided to wait for the babysitter instead of running to neighbouring apartments and banging on doors for help.

“A child looks to her parents for love, safety and affection. It is the court that must speak for Zaria,” he said.

Members of the baby’s family did not speak with reporters outside the courtroom, but issued a written statement in which they talk about the deep sadness they will bear for the rest of their lives.

“Although we wish that the sentence handed to Julian Thomson could have been longer, there is no amount of punishment that can undo this horrible, horrible crime and give us back our precious little angel,” it says.

“We would like to thank (Justice) Wilson for being very thorough and explaining the basis of his decision and giving Julian the maximum sentence based on the precedent set by previous cases.”

Outside the courthouse, Crown prosecutor Jason Snider explained to reporters that while manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, each sentence must be crafted to be in proportion to those that have been given to other offenders in similar circumstances.

Snider sought a sentence of five years while defence counsel Patty MacNaughton argued for four and a half years.

Thomson received 10 months credit for the time he has served in remand since turning himself in to the Red Deer City RCMP on Dec. 1, 2011.

He was ordered to surrender a sample of his DNA and will be prohibited from owning firearms and other weapons for 10 years following his release from prison.

The McCall family is urging others who feel a need for a stronger sentences to contact the minister of justice and express their views.

“We would never wish this pain on anyone and believe that a stronger punishment would deter similar crimes in the future,” they say in their statement.

They also invite donations in Zaria’s name to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, Suite 1502, 8215 112th St., Edmonton, Alberta, Y6G 2C8.