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Brutal Tipton father's attacks leave seven-week-old baby 'blind and wheelchair-bound for life'

By John Scott | Tipton | Crime | Published:

A father who left his baby daughter almost totally blind after attacking her is facing a long prison sentence today.

Wolverhampton Crown Court

The seven-week-year-old baby could also be wheelchair bound for life after two assaults by the 27-year-old, who admitted being irritated by loud noise, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Mr Jonas Hankin QC, prosecuting, said: "Her quality of life has been destroyed."

She will soon be two years old but has still not developed beyond that of a three month old baby, it was said. It is feared she will suffer permanent spasticity and seizures. The prosecutor concluded: "It is a very sad picture."

The victim suffered several fractures to major bones of the skull as well as the collarbone and two ribs while being looked after by the father at the flat in Tipton he shared with his partner. The significant damage to the baby's head was caused by both impact and shaking, it was said.

The child was rushed to hospital in a critical condition with both brain, respiratory and circulatory failure on February 26 last year, disclosed Mr Hankin. Medical examination revealed she had been attacked twice in three weeks.

The little girl was resuscitated at hospital and spent six days in intensive care before being transferred to a specialist ward and was discharged on March 18.

Health visitors saw the child the day before she was taken to hospital. She was fully clothed and crying but they did not note any concerns about her condition following a 'cursory' inspection, the court heard.

They failed to spot facial bruising which could be seen in photographs taken of the child the same day and the day before, continued Mr Hankin.

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The father raised the alarm and told an ambulance technician that the bruising had been caused when he accidentally dropped a TV remote control on the baby but the injuries were incompatible with this explanation and police were alerted.

Medical experts suggested the child had been squeezed or shaken violently as well as being struck hard in the face and on the top of the head.

They felt she had been seriously assaulted twice, once at the start of February and the other shortly before she collapsed when it is likely the father shook her violently and threw her down onto a hard surface, continued Mr Hankin.

His partner realised he posed a risk of causing serious harm to the baby - she took pictures of the facial bruising and investigated it on the internet - but failed to take the necessary steps to protect her, concluded the prosecutor.

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The internet history of a computer seized from the couple's home showed it was used on February 7 to search for topics such as 'how long will cheekbone swelling take to go?' and 'fallen on face badly swollen and bruised advise please.' Five days earlier the child's mother had sent a text message that said her partner just had a 'meltdown,' said the prosecutor during the trial of the couple who cannot be named.

The father admitted twice 'losing his temper,' slapping her in the face and forcibly put her in her cot. He then confessed to shaking the child 'vigorously' and conceded that he was 'irritated quite easily by loud noises' but experts insisted he had still not told the whole truth.

The jury convicted him of two charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and found his partner guilty of failing to protect the child. Both were remanded in custody overnight and were being sentenced by Judge Nicholas Webb today.

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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