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Hospital first spotted injuries to three-month-old baby, court told

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A father who injured his young baby and then lied about it to police has been brought to justice.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons but lived in Royston at the time of the offence, first came to the attention of police after the little boy was taken to hospital.

The baby, who was just under three months old at the time, was admitted on 21 August 2018. Doctors examined him and noticed facial bruising, scratches to the left side of his face and small marks to his legs.

His parents gave an explanation that the boy had “hit his head” on his father’s jaw and they had noticed “mild swelling”, but a few days later bruising appeared, and the swelling got worse.

However, doctors became suspicious and noted their explanation did not match up to the injuries.

In police interview the man repeated the same account to officers but in a second interview, five days later, he added to his story.

He then told police the first account of events was true but, after this, he had accidentally punched the boy “very hard” to the left side of his face after putting out his arm to stop himself from falling over.

He said he had not given this version of events to his partner – the boy’s mother – and his own mother, until the day before his second interview.

The man was later served a postal requisition charging him with assaulting, ill-treating, or neglecting a child to cause unnecessary suffering or injury.

He denied the charge and stood trial at Cambridge Crown Court from 12 October.

On 19 October, jurors found him guilty.

The father was sentenced at the same court on Friday (25 November), where he was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

While sentencing, Judge Jonathan Seely considered the mitigating factor that the father had wanted to take the boy to hospital.

Sergeant Kevin Sutcliffe, who investigated, said: “The young boy’s father was one of the people he relied upon to keep him safe, and not only did he fail to do this, but he also lied about it.

“Thankfully, the baby is now in a safer environment and thriving. I would like to thank the medical professionals for raising their concerns when something did not seem quite right.

“I would urge anyone who is concerned for the welfare of a child to report it. We all have a responsibility to protect children in our communities.”

Anyone who has concerns about a child, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem, can report this to police online via web chat or call 101.

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