A father who assaulted his baby son by breaking an arm and a leg after he could not stop him crying has narrowly been spared from jail.
Sheffield Crown Court heard on Monday (22 August) how Andrew Newton, aged 27, of Lindsay Avenue, Parson Cross, could not stop his two-and-half-month-old son from crying before he fractured his left upper arm and right thigh, our sister title the Sheffield Star reports.
Judge Graham Reeds QC told Newton: “In September or October 2019, at a time when you were completely unsuited temperamentally to looking after a very small child, you lost your temper with your son’s crying and caused him significant injuries by bending back his arm and by injuring his leg.”
Prosecuting barrister Richard Sheldon told a previous hearing that when Newton’s baby son was crying he could not get him to sleep and the child’s mother found the youngster in pain after the defendant had been looking after him.
Mr Sheldon added that after the youngster was taken to hospital he was found to have injuries including a left humerus fracture, a fractured right femur, three broken ribs and bruising.
He also said: “The injuries weren’t consistent with being accidental. They were entirely consistent with being inflicted.”
Mr Sheldon added that the injury to the youngster’s arm was also consistent with it being twisted or bent.
The court heard the youngster was placed into foster care with social services until it was agreed he could be looked after by his auntie and he was eventually returned to his mother in August 2020.
Mr Sheldon said: “He has made a full recovery and he is a healthy, happy little boy and all appears well in terms of his physical future.”
Newton had claimed to police that his son’s injuries were accidental, saying he had dropped him when he had slipped out of his hands.
He also told officers that he would put his son’s arms behind his back when he placed him in his cot.
However, Newton, who has no previous convictions, admitted assaulting the youngster between September and October, 2019.
Defence barrister Gurdial Singh told a previous hearing Newton knows he is the only person to blame for losing contact with his own son and he knows what he has done is “disgusting”.
Mr Singh added: “This was not violence meted out to a helpless child for some nefarious reason. It was an inadequate parent trying to cope with the child.”
Newton was described as having a functioning ability towards the “bottom level” and he has not been involved in any further offending, according to Mr Singh.
Mr Singh said while serious injury was caused to a very young child, thankfully he has made a full recovery and the defendant’s partner described the defendant as having been an otherwise caring and loving parent.
The court also heard Newton is sorry for what he has done and his remorse has caused him significant health problems including depression.
What the judge said
Judge Graham Reeds QC said that the defendant’s understanding of how to look after the youngster was limited and he told Newton he had caused injury to his son on two occasions over a three to four week period.
Judge Reeds said when Newton’s son would not settle after a feed the defendant became frustrated with him and he could not control his emotions.
He acknowledged Newton’s partner said he had been trying his best to look after their son after she had been poorly following the birth.
Judge Reeds told Newton: “I am satisfied that these two incidents when you harmed him were in circumstances where you could not control your emotions, and where you were struggling to look after and understand the behaviour of your new baby.”
Judge Reeds also added: “I am satisfied that you would not have committed this offence but for the fact that your limited functioning made you less able to cope with what you were taking on.”
The court also heard that leaving a child in Newton’s care is not something likely to be permitted in the foreseeable future by social services and he has destroyed any realistic chance of hands-on parenting for some time.
Judge Reeds sentenced Newton to two years of custody suspended for two years with a rehabilitation requirement and a six-month curfew.