June 2009

Parents of ‘at risk’ baby battered and left blind after getting meningitis jailed for horrific abuse

Shocking failures by social services to protect a newborn baby from her drug addict mother and brutal father were revealed today.

The tiny baby was subjected to horrific abuse, suffering nine fractured ribs, two broken legs and a broken collar bone by the time she was six weeks old.

The couple also failed to get ‘Baby H’ any medical help after she contracted meningitis, despite her becoming seriously ill.

Although she survived, the baby was left deaf, blind, brain damaged and severely disabled with cerebral palsy.

Today Rizwan Patel, 27, was jailed for four-and-a-half years and Alliah Bradshaw, 29, for three years after admitting charges relating to the baby’s mistreatment at Bradford Crown Court.

It emerged that Bradshaw had been monitored by social workers for at least five years and previously had her two other young sons taken from her.

Baby H – who is now aged two-and-a-half – suffered the appalling cruelty despite being on the at risk register.

Social workers from Calderdale Council were ‘determined to keep a watchful eye’ on Baby H as a result of the mother’s appalling history, but it was deemed ‘appropriate’ for her to remain with the couple.

Bradshaw and Patel, from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, received regular visits from health and support workers after Baby H was born in January 2007.

These continued until the baby was admitted to hospital in early March and taken out of their care.

Both parents admitted two offences of child cruelty through neglect, relating to their failure to seek help and medical treatment for their baby.

Patel also pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm. The court heard he shook Baby H violently, causing rib and collar bone fractures in the process.

Baby H also suffered fractures to both thigh bones and a lower leg, probably caused by being brutally forced into clothes while she was being dressed.

Details of the final days before she was eventually taken to hospital revealed appalling neglect.

On March 1 Bradshaw, a long term drug addict, left Patel to meet her ex-partner and sit in a park smoking crack cocaine.

In her absence the inexperienced father shook Baby H in a fit of temper when she wouldn’t stop crying, leaving her with multiple fractures.

The baby was clearly in agony, yet nothing was done to take her to see a doctor.

Over the next four days Baby H began passing and coughing blood and vomiting.

The defendants ignored advice from health professionals, who told them on at least three occasions to take the child to hospital for x-rays.

On March 5 a health worker was anxious to examine the baby’s leg but was persuaded not to by the couple who said the baby had just settled and should not be disturbed.

They had covered her up to her shoulders with a blanket.

The next day Patel finally took her to their local GP who were so concerned by the baby’s ‘grey’ appearance she was immediately rushed to Calderdale Royal Infirmary by ambulance.

As well as the bruises and broken bones she was diagnosed with meningitis and septicaemia.

Now in foster care, she cannot sit up or feed herself unaided.

She has had surgical implants to help with her deafness, splints on her legs, daily physiotherapy and because of her lop-sided body she needs a special sleeping device.

Passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Rose condemned the couple’s failure to seek medical attention and said: ‘These actions were inexplicable, deplorable and indefensible.’

He continued: ‘She was unwell with what turned out to be very grave illnesses which would cause her long-term catastrophic consequences.

‘The real suffering is to come for a long time in the future because her life has been effectively ruined.

‘She is condemned to a future of suffering, she will need constant and indefinite care.’

The court heard Bradshaw’s first child became known to social services when he was rescued from a burning crack den where Bradshaw had left him in the care of drug users. Luckily he was rescued by firefighters.

In 2002 he was permanently removed from her care after he was found wandering the streets, partially clothed and covered in his own excrement, while Bradshaw bought drugs in a phone box.

In March 2003 her second child was taken away from her by social services due to her excessive drug use.