September 2012

Bootle man was jailed after 19 injuries were found on a 7-week-old baby

A MAN who injured a seven-week old baby while high on drugs was jailed for child cruelty.

Liverpool crown court heard the tot was found with 19 separate cuts and bruises, consistent with being slapped and scratched.

Mathew Peter Owen, 22, was ordered to serve eight months behind bars after pleading guilty to child cruelty. The court heard how marks were spotted on the baby’s body by a family member looking at photographs of the infant taken on a mobile phone in January 2012.

The police were called and the child was taken to hospital.

On examination at Alder Hey hospital, a consultant found evidence of injuries, including a scratch to the baby’s neck and bruising to the right arm, back and abdomen.

Owen, from Bootle, whose address was witheld by the court citing legal reasons, had initially told police he scratched the baby by accident with his long nails after the child fell from his grasp. But a doctor’s report showed that the injuries suffered by the baby were “consistent with finger imprints and slap marks”.

Owen admitted using cannabis to a “large extent” at the time of the assault in January this year.

Jailing Owen, Judge Robert Warnock, said: “Nobody should be in any doubt whatsoever as to the seriousness of this offence.

“I have looked at the photos relating to the injuries. While they are not the worst of their kind they are nonetheless disturbing. It is obvious to anybody who has heard this case that this matter crosses the custody threshold.”

Robert Jansen, who prosecuted in the case, said: “Owen had a duty of care towards a defenceless, seven-week-old baby.

“This was a duty he failed.

“But for the swift and decisive action of a family member, Owen may have gone unpunished, or worse, undetected for days, weeks or even longer.

“This case shows how absolutely crucial it is for people to call the police if they suspect a child is being harmed in any way. Fortunately, this time the baby suffered no long-term ill-effects.”

David Roberts, defending, told the court: “The defendant clearly accepts the finding of the doctor that the majority of the injuries were not accidental.”