A DEFENCE Academy worker will spend Christmas in the cells after he was charged with the murder of a three-month-old baby from Swindon.

Paul Rich, a supervisor for contractor Serco at the Shrivenham Defence Academy, was remanded in custody by a Bristol judge over the alleged murder of Patrick Bradley.

The 52-year-old, of Sandy Lane, Shrivenham, is accused of causing the death of the boy last year.

Emergency services were called to Thresher Drive, off Thamesdown Drive, on March 25 last year. Baby Patrick was rushed to Great Western Hospital with life-threatening injuries, before being transferred to hospital in Bristol. He died a week later as a result of his injuries.

Police said at the time that a 50-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Rich appeared before Swindon Magistrates Court last Wednesday, more than 18 months after the alleged murder was committed.

And at a bail hearing at Bristol Crown Court on Friday, Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, remanded him in custody for a plea hearing on January 25 next year.

Neighbours on Thresher Drive, north Swindon, this week spoke of their shock at young Patrick’s death, describing the area as quiet and friendly.

One man, 49, who asked not to be named, said: “It was a bit of a shock to everyone, especially when we found out it was a baby that had died. We never saw anybody there.”

A woman, 52, who did not wish to give her name, said: “It’s shocking. You’d never have known something like that would happen. It’s not that sort of area.”

Amanda Russell, 44, said of the area: “We know our neighbours. It’s a very family oriented area, very friendly.” Her 20-year-old neighbour, who said he had lived on the street for eight years, added: “It’s quite private. There’s not a lot that goes on.”