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Black Country parents jailed after baby left brain-damaged and blind

By Marion Brennan | Tipton | Crime | Published:

A father who inflicted ‘terrible’ injuries on his newborn baby after her crying interrupted his computer game has been jailed for 14 years.

Wolverhampton Crown Court

The child’s mother was sentenced to three years for failing to protect the infant from the risk of harm.

The pair, from Tipton, had lied to protect themselves, the court was told.

The child, now almost two years old, has been left with severe brain damage, with the development capacity of a four to six-week old baby.

She cannot sit, walk or even crawl, has to be fed through a nasal tube and is effectively blind.

Judge Nicholas Webb said: “It is quite difficult to think of more serious injuries that could have been inflicted.

"The ongoing effect on her life is quite terrible."

He added that the couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were intelligent but lacked ‘the humanity’ to provide for her.

The infant was just weeks old when she was shaken so violently that she fell unconscious and struggled to breathe.

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Her father, who was responsible for night-time supervision while his partner slept, was suspected of becoming so preoccupied playing games that he flew into a rage when she started crying and assaulted her.

Paramedics were called to the home in February last year.

She spent six days in intensive care where doctors found injuries to her brain, a fractured rib and extensive bruising.

They also discovered evidence of previous injuries, including fractures to another rib, her collar bone and a head injury.

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After initially denying the attacks, the child’s father admitted being responsible but denied intending to cause her serious harm.

However a jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court found him guilty of two counts of grievous bodily harm following a two-week trial.

Jude Webb told him: "You deprived your own child of the meaningful life she could otherwise have looked forward to."

His partner, accused of allowing the child to come to harm, denied any knowledge of how her daughter’s injuries were caused, alleging her partner told her he had accidentally dropped the TV remote control on the baby, but the jury rejected the claim.

The judge told her she must have known the risk to the child after the first assault.

The youngster continues to have seizures and will be on anti-epilepsy drugs for the rest of her life, the court heard.

She will also need full-time care and is expected to be wheelchair-bound for life. Her only means of communication is moaning or crying.

Detective Constable Kim Savage, from West Midlands Police's Public Protection Unit, said: “This is a terribly sad case where a young girl was born with absolutely nothing wrong with her, she had her whole life in front of her, yet this abuse has left her with life-long injuries, many of which she will never recover from.

“It also serves as a reminder that if you see something you think may be suspicious, please report it, as in this case family members had noted the bruising but believed the couple’s excuses."

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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