Heartbroken great-grandfather only got to see eight-week-old girl once before her 'controlling' dad murdered her

THE heartbroken great-granddad of a baby girl murdered by her "controlling" dad today revealed he only got to see her once before she died.

Eight-week-old Holly was shaken to death by dad Michael Roe, 32, after he watched porn and smoked a joint in his sex-toy-filled shed.

He was today caged for life with a minimum of 19 years after being convicted of murder at Hove Crown Court.

Holly's mum Tiffany Tate, 22, turned a blind eye to the horrific abuse and was found guilty of allowing her daughter's death.

She was today sentenced to two years and nine months.

Her grandad Victor Smith has now spoken of his distraught at the tragic baby's death.

He said: "I just hope she can cope with it. She tried to get help, but he was ruling and always was.

“It was a controlling relationship.

“I have lost a great-granddaughter that I saw only once at the hospital and she was fine then.

“The only thing I’ve got left now is photographs.”


Mr Justice Edward Murray today slammed Roe for "changing" his account to point the finger at Tate.

He added: "Holly was clearly suffering until she died. You had the highest possible position of trust.

“I’m satisfied you intend to cause really serious harm and you knew you had seriously harmed your daughter."

The judge said Roe knew he had "seriously harmed" Holly before he killed her.

He added: “When you carried her upstairs she was already either dead or in a coma to die shortly afterwards.

“You hoped she would recover as she had before.”

You did not take steps to protect her from physical harm. Had you not allowed it, baby Holly would not have been murdered.

Turning to Tate, the judge said she knew Roe was "potentially dangerous" to Holly.

He said: “You knew he had harmed Holly before she died.

“You deliberately disregarded her welfare because of your fear of being thrown out of his house.

“You did not take steps to protect her from physical harm. Had you not allowed it, baby Holly would not have been murdered.”


Premature Holly Roe suffered fatal head injuries and 11 rib fractures in her short life.

Roe shook baby Holly on more than one occasion leading to her death from head injuries at the family home in Crowborough, East Sussex, in September 2018.

Tragic Holly was born on July 14, 2018, two months early by emergency caesarian section and had to be resuscitated.

The infant was discharged from hospital on August 9.

Within a few weeks she was dead from injuries caused by violent, abusive shaking.


The rib fractures would have been extremely painful and Holly would have been severely distressed, Sally Howes QC said.

Tate told police she thought her baby was absolutely fine just hours before she died.

The jury was also told the case was a retrial at Lewes Crown Court in Hove.

And at the previous case, the court was told Roe kept a collection of sex toys in his shed.

Police photographs of his shed were shown to the jury.

 The court heard Roe smoked at least two cannabis joints every night.

Tate said Roe woke her at 1.30am one morning saying: “Holly’s cold, she’s not breathing.”

Former foster child Tiffany Tate was only 19 when she moved in with Michael Roe.

When the baby cried, she became frustrated and panicked, Ms Howes said.

Roe took over night feeds as Tiffany Tate had no patience with Holly, the court heard.

He also fed the baby after smoking a cannabis joint on the night she died, the court heard.

Emergency services were called to the house in the early hours of Monday, September 10, 2018 after the couple reported she was having breathing difficulties.

Holly was found to be cold, not breathing and with no heart activity at all, Ms Howes said.

Michael Roe told police something startled him.

Ms Howes said: “He felt Holly’s head and it was cold. He then felt her chest and it was warm. He carried out a test for reflex, there was none.

“He woke Tiffany Tate and gave two rescue breaths to Holly but she did not respond.

“Michael Roe rang the emergency services for an ambulance.”

 Paramedics battled to save her before she was taken to Pembury Hospital in Tunbridge Wells where she was pronounced dead.

Port mortem examinations showed numerous signs of injury on her tiny body.

Eight-week-old Holly had suffered head injuries on three different occasions before her death and 12 rib fractures.

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