A FATHER who shook his baby son to death – causing him to suffer injuries likened to a "high-speed car crash" – was jailed for nine years.

Rugby player Matthew Jones, 26, from Ebbw Vale, was found guilty of killing Cody Rhys Williams-Jones after a three-week trial at Newport Crown Court.

He sobbed when the jury convicted him of manslaughter just seconds after clearing him of murdering his 15-week-old son in December 2016.

The judge, Mr Justice Simon Picken, told the former Ebbw Vale and Newbridge wing he had "lost it" in a temper at his frustration in being unable to settle his crying son when the boy was in his sole care.

South Wales Argus: VICTIM: Cody Rhys Williams-JonesVICTIM: Cody Rhys Williams-Jones

Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC said Jones, formerly of South Bank, Beaufort, shook Cody so violently his eyes bled and caused him “catastrophic head injuries”.

The infant had brain swelling and retinal haemorrhages – small bleeds in both of his eyes, too numerous to count.

When he opened the case to the jury, Mr Lewis told them: "A (medical) specialist in the field said the type of scenario that might cause such injury is a high-speed car accident.”

At the time leading up to Cody’s death, Jones was working long hours as an electrical engineer at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, near Llantrisant.

They lived together as a family with the child’s mother, Paula Williams, at a three-bedroom house in Ebbw Vale.

The jury heard that text and WhatsApp messages between himself and his partner suggested he was prone to losing his temper and had called Cody a “pleb”.

Described as a “loving father”, Jones maintained in his defence he was a doting dad and that he had accidentally dropped his son.

The court was told that just after 6pm on December 7, 2016, Miss Williams received a telephone call from the defendant.

He said that Cody would not stop crying and the mother told Jones to stay calm and to use the infant’s teething gel to soothe him.

A few minutes later, the father called again and was screaming, saying: “It’s the baby; I don’t know what is wrong.”

Jones told the court Cody fell from his arms on to a mattress at the bottom of a bed and landed on the top of his neck and bounced about two feet into the air before flipping over and going “all floppy”.

The defendant added: “When I picked him up, he sank in my arms and made a choking noise. He wasn’t breathing properly.

“I was panicking. Cody had never been like that before.”

It was an explanation the jury rejected.

Cody’s injuries were so catastrophic that his life support machine was turned off the following day.

A post mortem examination discovered he had suffered previous injuries including broken ribs and a fractured shoulder.

Richard Smith QC, mitigating, said Jones "either through exhaustion or frustration" lost his temper but his actions were not premeditated.

Outside the court, Gwent Police Detective Chief Inspector Mark Johnson said: "I am pleased that the sentencing today brings to a conclusion a long and complex investigation which began with the death of a 15-week-old baby who had died from injuries, the cause of which was not immediately obvious.

"Once the investigation began in December 2016, the investigative team undertook extensive lines of enquiry and called on numerous forensic and medical experts that proved that the injuries caused to Cody Rhys Williams-Jones were non-accidental and couldn’t have been caused in the manner described by Matthew Jones.

“His family have been through a traumatic time and have waited over two-and-a-half years to find out how and why Cody died, unfortunately Matthew Jones has still failed to provide that explanation.

“Throughout, they have shown great courage and dignity and I thank them for their co-operation throughout the police investigation.

“No conviction will ever bring baby Cody back but we hope his family have some sense of peace knowing that Matthew Jones has been held accountable for the death of Cody and will now have a significant period of time in prison to reflect on his actions.”