Dad ‘confessed’ to baby murder, court

FELIXSTOWE: A father who had not seen his son for 20 years confessed to killing his baby daughter following an emotional reunion, a court heard.

FELIXSTOWE: A father who had not seen his son for 20 years confessed to killing his baby daughter following an emotional reunion, a court heard.

Prosecutors said that David Riches' “reign of cruelty” began with the murder of six-week-old Melanin in 1985. He is then alleged to have gone on to abuse a succession of women and children.

Following the 2007 reunion with Micah, his son and brother to Melanin, Riches, who ran a guesthouse in Felixstowe, admitted killing her, Norwich Crown Court heard. The death had previously been treated as a cot death.

Prosecutor Sally Howes said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death at the time.

But she told the court: “In 2007, Micah Riches made contact with his father David Riches. During various conversations they discussed the death of Melanin. As a result of this, Micah eventually went to the police.

“Police discovered a catalogue of abuse towards women and children. By that time his reign of cruelty had lasted almost two decades and began with the murder of baby Melanin.”

Most Read

David Riches, 46, also known as Richey Martinique, now of Pezens, France, denies one count of murder and an alternative count of manslaughter. He also denies six assaults and six counts of child cruelty. He has pleaded guilty to one count of causing actual bodily harm.

Giving evidence, a tearful Micah Riches, 21, from Costessey, Norfolk, described how he and his father exchanged text messages. Micah Riches said: “I sent him a message asking how Melanin died. He replied saying 'we've all done things we are not proud of' so I asked him what he meant by that. He said that it was him. He said he suffocated her.”

It is claimed in other conversations David Riches had described how he would put Melanin's head down the side of the sofa to calm her down when she cried. The trial, which is expected to last at least eight weeks, continues.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter