Birkenhead man jailed for assaulting his five week old son

30/01/2015

A Birkenhead man has been sentenced to 11 years for causing grievous bodily harm with intent to his five week old baby.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that, in three combined assaults in the same incident, the child suffered a spiral fracture of the right femur, rib fractures and serious bleeding to and around the brain. 

The injuries came to light when the baby boy's concerned mother took him to the doctor in July 2013, because the child seemed to be in pain.  Two days earlier, the child had been left in the sole care of his father for a short period of time.

The doctor spotted bruising to the child's thigh and the child was in obvious pain when his leg was moved.  His mother couldn't explain how the injuries had happened.

The child was immediately referred to Arrowe Park hospital where his condition was reviewed by senior doctors.  The boy's fractures and the brain injuries were later investigated by expert paediatric radiologists from Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool. 

The mother told staff that she had left the baby with his father for just ten to fifteen minutes on the day that she first noticed that the child seemed to be in pain. 

On returning to the house, she and the child's grandmother had been worried about the child and the grandmother had seen spots of blood around his mouth and a carpet burn to his elbow. 

The child's mother and the defendant's sister later told officials that the defendant was sometimes rough with the baby and that he couldn't deal with the child's crying.

Extensive medical examinations at Arrowe Park and Alder Hey Hospitals revealed that the baby had suffered 4 broken ribs, a fracture of the right femur caused by pulling and twisting the leg, 3 bleeds to the brain and possible swelling to the brain and bruising and grazing to his arms and legs.

Doctors were unanimous that the injuries weren't accidental and that significant force would be required to cause them.

A week later, and when he was contacted by the police and told that he would be arrested, the father presented himself, by arrangement, at Wirral Custody Suite.

After a trial lasting 8 days, the defendant was convicted of one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and two counts of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The father of the child said nothing to the mother or the doctors, when he was interviewed, but told officers that he'd caused the injuries by accidentally falling while carrying the baby from the kitchen to the sitting room in the house.

 But he later broke down in tears and said: "I was just scared". 

After conviction, and in the course of a court-ordered psychiatric report, the defendant confessed that he had acted as the prosecution had alleged during the trial. 

He admitted that he had pushed the child from his knee to the floor, that he had then lifted the boy by his leg, squeezed his chest in temper, and had then shaken the baby, causing the brain injuries. 

Brian Forshaw, Senior Crown Prosecutor for Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This is a very sad case where a very young child has suffered serious injuries at the hands of someone who should have been protecting him.

"We may never know what made this man hurt his own son but it is clear that this is disgraceful behaviour that will shock most people.

"Very small children are incredibly vulnerable and deserve the full protection of the law. The father of this baby met that vulnerability with violence and he must now come to terms with his actions."