IT is possibly the worst crime that any one person can be accused of – causing the death of their own child.

But that was the charge facing financial advisor Ian Ruddock at the High Court in Edinburgh in August 2015.

The 34-year-old company director was alleged to have shaken his five-week-old daughter Olivia to death at the family home on the outskirts of Glasgow before trying to murder a baby boy two years later.

Olivia had been admitted to the Victoria Infirmary on the city’s Southside but died a few hours later at Yorkhill Hospital on March 6, 2011.

There was nothing thought to be suspicious about the death at the time, with doctors concluding Olivia had died of bronchial pneumonia.

Police were later alerted to Ruddock by hospital doctors in 2013 when he was suspected of assaulting a second baby, this time a boy, who had a fractured skull and ribs.

It led to a review of the death of Olivia two years earlier by the Crown Office, which is responsible for all criminal prosecutions in Scotland.

It then ordered police to treat the death of Olivia as murder and the attack on the boy, who could not be named for legal reasons, as attempted murder.

The team of detectives then looked back through Ruddock’s past and discovered new medical evidence about what really happened to Olivia including fractured ribs that had been missed by doctors at the time.

His wife had been in the house when Olivia took unwell.

However, Ruddock was quickly identified as the prime suspect in her subsequent death.

The detectives’ main aim was to show that Ruddock was alone with Olivia and the boy when the attacks were carried out and the injuries sustained.

This meant trawling through Ruddock’s mobile phone records.

They also checked his computer – particularly for emails sent at the times of the attacks.

During a lengthy investigation and series of interviews at Govan Police Office in Glasgow, Ruddock denied any wrongdoing and insisted he was a loving and doting father.

Despite his protestations Ruddock went on trial in August 2015 at the High Court in Edinburgh accused of murdering his five-week-old daughter at the family home in Clarkston in East Renfrewshire in March 2011.

The indictment alleged that Ruddock assaulted the girl on various occasions there.

The charges also stated that Ruddock got hold of Olivia and compressed her chest and rib cage with his hands.

It was further alleged he seized hold of her body and shook her repeatedly as well as inflicting blunt force trauma to her head and body.

The final part of the charge alleged that Olivia was left so severely injured, she died at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, at Yorkhill, on March 6, 2011.

Ruddock, now living in Shawlands, also faced a separate charge of attempted murder of the boy between March and May 2013 when he was only a few weeks old.

Ruddock was said to have assaulted the boy in a similar manner to Olivia – in a house fracturing his ribs and skull.

However, unlike Olivia he had made a full recovery.

The jury heard that Ruddock had got up from bed in the early hours of March 6, 2011 to feed his daughter who had become unwell.

He claimed he had called out to his wife, Wendy, and tried to shake Olivia awake.

Ruddock’s claim of innocence was supported by his sister and his wife, who both gave evidence in his defence.

During Ruddock’s trial, consultant radiologist Greg Irwin admitted he missed Olivia’s extensive injuries, including fractured ribs.

He had initially concluded that she had died of bronchial pneumonia.

But after reviewing the X-rays later, Dr Irwin found Olivia had definitely suffered three broken ribs before death, while eight other ribs were “probably” broken.

He then concluded there was incontrovertible proof that she had fractured ribs and that indicated foul play.

During Ruddock’s seven-week trial, Wendy, then 37, told the court about her daughter’s tragic final moments.

She said that Ruddock got up from bed in the early hours to feed their daughter.

But during the feed, Olivia became unwell, prompting him to shout for her.

Saying he sounded panicked, Wendy told the court: “I knew something wasn’t right.

“He shouted on me to phone an ambulance, which I did immediately.

“The person on the other end of the phone was trying to talk us through CPR. But it was just panic stations.”

Wendy, who also worked in financial services, said her husband performed CPR on Olivia ‘as best he could’ but medics were unable to save her life.

She told the court her husband was not capable of harming Olivia, adding: “I have never believed the allegations. I don’t believe he would hurt children – never, no way.”

However, the court heard that two years after Olivia’s death, Ruddock targeted another young child.

The court heard how he seized the little boy and inflicted blunt force trauma to his head and body.

The boy was taken to hospital and doctors found he had several injuries.

Giving evidence, Ruddock admitted shaking Olivia when she fell ill and unresponsive at the family home.

He told the jury that his daughter’s final hours were ‘mainly a blur’, adding: “I was trying to get her to wake up. I can just remember holding her and trying to get her to wake up.”

Asked if he had hurt his daughter, he replied: “I don’t believe for a minute that I’ve caused her death. It’s not even remotely possible.”

At the end of the seven-week trial in early October Donald Findlay, KC, who was defending Ruddock, said that convicting him of the attacks on the children would be ‘a catastrophic miscarriage of justice’.

Ruddock was cleared of Olivia’s murder, but the jury found him guilty by majority verdict of the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of the baby boy in Glasgow in 2013.

Sentence was deferred on Ruddock until later that month at the High Court in Glasgow for background reports.

The trial judge Lord Bannatyne also thanked jurors for sitting through the complex case, adding: “There are few circumstances more tragic than the death of a child.”

At the Glasgow sentencing Ruddock was given a 12-year prison term and told by Lord Bannatyne that the killing of his baby daughter Olivia was an offence ‘of very significant gravity’.

Lord Bannatyne also said it was a parent’s duty to care for a child and that his actions were ‘a gross breach of trust’.

He added: “You committed both these offences when both children were babies. It is difficult to think of a more vulnerable victim than a baby.

“You had all the advantages of a good, happy upbringing. You were someone who was materially comfortable. You are not someone who had an unhappy upbringing, nor were you someone who had significant problems.”

Members of Ruddock’s family sat crying in the public benches at the High Court in Glasgow, while Ruddock showed no emotion as he was led away to begin his sentence.

Mr Findlay said Ruddock continued to maintain his innocence, adding: “Two little boys who apparently dote on their dad are going to lose their dad for a very long time.”

In the wake of the Olivia case, a National Child Abuse Investigation Unit was set up to look at similar cases across Scotland.

Following sentencing, the officer in charge of the Ruddock investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Maxine Martin, said: “Ruddock was not outwardly expressive and showed little emotion.

“He was very controlled, very calm and collected. He only showed emotion towards the end of the interview when he began talking about Olivia.

“What he did was almost too sinister to understand.”

DCI Martin then added: “We contacted medical experts from all over Britain to get their opinion on what had happened.

“They all agreed that Olivia and the boy had been assaulted.

“Though there was a great deal of medical evidence involved, we still had to prove that he was alone with Olivia and the other child at the relevant times.

“Ian Ruddock will no longer pose a risk to any other children as he spends years behind bars.”