A dad who battered his four-month-old daughter to death when she wouldn't stop crying has been jailed for life after his claim that she suffered the injuries while he was playing Call of Duty was dismissed in court.
Jordan Lee, 29, said he had been distracted playing Call of Duty when little Willow hit her head on a glass milkshake bottle, leaving her fighting for her life.
But Preston Crown Court heard how the tragic tot died on December 6 last year after suffering from a brain injury.
A pathologist found Willow's death was a direct consequence of a traumatic head injury, consistent with forceful shaking and probable impact to the head.
A post-mortem examination found the degree of force required to sustain the head injury was "considerable" and would have caused immense pain and suffering to the baby.
She had suffered from extensive bruising to her ear, face, and arm which the pathologist said was likely a result of gripping, punching, squeezing, punching or slapping.
Lee denied the murder, but was found guilty following a trial and jailed for life with a minimum of 16 years on Friday.
In a heart-breaking statement, his ex-partner and Willow's mum Jade Bell said: "No parent should ever have to see their child die.
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"The way Willow died, at the hands of her father who should have loved her unconditionally but instead killed her in such a brutal manner and has showed no remorse, is unimaginable.
"My precious, innocent daughter Willow was almost five months old when she died. To watch her die was horrific and heart-breaking, but to then find out what had happened to her, that she died because of her father's selfish actions, was devastating.
"We all miss her dearly. There are not enough words to express that, and to have lost her at such a young age and in the way we have has affected me and my family so much, and my life will never be the same without my blue-eyed angel.
"I could talk about her forever and how she will always be my perfect baby, and always my Willow Grace. It's hard to comprehend that the person who was supposed to love and protect her as a father could be responsible for her no longer being with us."
The distraught mum continued: "My last memory I have of my Willow is her in the ICU at Alder Hey Children's Hospital. My mum, dad, and grandma were on either side of her.
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"The sight of her helpless with tubes and wires attached to her little body, attached to a life-support machine, is something that I will never forget. The feelings were unbelievable, but I had to let my precious girl go. It was heartbreaking, it still is heartbreaking and will always be heartbreaking.
"At that point, I could never see how life could be normal again for me and my family, and of course it never will. I feel all the overwhelming love I have for her, and I feel the grief and horror of losing her every single day."
Lee was supposed to be looking after his baby daughter while Jade went to work, but became increasingly angry with her as the day progressed.
The court heard that at 1.18pm on December 3, his brother Daniel Lee, who also lived at the home in Blackpool messaged Jade: "He's seriously not fit to be a father. I feel sorry for Willow."
He told her Willow had been crying all day and that his brother was "getting really angry and shouting at her".
In return, Jade texted: "Please, please make sure he doesn't hurt her in any way" and "please make sure my baby is safe Dan."
At around 5pm, Daniel again heard Lee shouting at his daughter to "shut up".
The sound of Willow crying, followed by a thud, was captured in a Snapchat recording taken by Daniel.
Afterwards, Lee ran upstairs with the baby in his arms and showed her to his brother, who said she looked "unresponsive and floppy".
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Speaking after the case Det Insp Mark Dickinson, of the Lancashire Police Force Major Investigation Team, said: "Willow Lee was a four-month-old baby who died at the hands of someone who should have protected her – her father, Jordan Lee.
"Lee carried out a horrendous series of assaults on his daughter, leaving her with catastrophic head injuries. These injuries led to her death three days later.
"Since then Lee has refused to admit his guilt, claiming repeatedly that Willow fell from the sofa. As the medical evidence emerged, he modified his account, claiming that another accident occurred as he carried Willow upstairs after the original fall. Thankfully the jury saw through his lies and he has now been found guilty of and sentenced for Willow's murder."
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