A DAD who killed his two-month-old baby daughter by shaking her twice when she woke him with her crying has been jailed for seven years.

Joseph Ray, 32, carried out the fatal attack on tiny Ava Ray at their flat on Prestonpans’ Rollo Court on November 1, 2012.

Ray, a binman, was originally charged with murder after a near-seven-year probe into the death, but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide.

Jailing him at the High Court in Glasgow today (Wednesday), judge Lady Stacey told Ray: “As you know, Ava was entitled to look to you for love, affection and support.

“You failed in that and your failure had terrible consequences.

“I accept this was caused by momentary loss of control.

“She was a tiny baby and you should have treated her with care and attention.

“Ava’s life was snuffed out just as she should have been able to look to you for support.

“She was a much-loved child and what you did took that child’s life.”

Defence QC Shelagh McCall said: “Mr Ray’s explanation for what happened is he had a long working day, his partner Lauren Scott was out and he was left with the care of the baby.

“He fed her and put her down as usual and he was awoken by her crying.

“After very little sleep and feeling overwhelmed and angry, he shook her twice.

“He still struggles to understand that what he did had such a catastrophic outcome.”

Ms McCall said the case had taken so long to come to court because of “contrasting medical views” and added that at one point it was thought Ava might have had a problem with blood clotting which could have explained her injuries.

Ava, who was born on September 3, 2012, was the first child for Ray and his partner Lauren Scott.

Midwives had been “happy” at how they were coping with the newborn.

But prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC said the couple had “arguments” after the birth, mainly over who would do night-time feeds.

On the day of the killing, Ava was left in the care of Ray as Lauren had gone to work at a pub at 6.30pm.

At about 10.50pm, Ray went to a neighbour’s house and claimed his daughter was “cold to the touch”.Miss Edwards said: “He was described as upset and crying.”

A 999 call was made and paramedics found Ava “white in colour, limp and unresponsive”.

Ava was taken to Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children, where she died the next morning.

Tests revealed her brain had been starved of oxygen and her death was initially treated as “unascertained”.

Miss Edwards then told how, between 2014 and 2018, “various experts” were consulted.

She added: “Following protracted discussions... the medical consensus is now that the pattern of injury... was caused by trauma.”

It was concluded that Ava had died due to a “head injury”.

Ray – whose most recent address was given as Gardiner Road, Prestonpans – was held by police in October 2013 but not charged.

It was in March 2019 that he first appeared in court in connection with his daughter’s death.

Ray had no previous convictions at the time of the killing.

Ms Scott was not in court to see Ray, who appeared by video link, sentenced.

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector David Pinkney of Police Scotland said: “My thoughts remain with Ava Ray’s family following this tragic event.

“I would also like to thank Ava’s extended family for their support throughout the investigation and I hope today’s result brings them some sort of closure.

“Ray took the life of his daughter. Just months old, Ava should have been safest in the care of her father – instead he inflicted injuries that she would never recover from.

“The investigation into Ava’s death was complex and intricate and I would like to thank all the officers and partners across all agencies involved who helped to secure the conviction and today’s sentence.”