June 2013

Chester father jailed for leaving son with permanent brain damage

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A CHESTER father has been jailed for shaking his baby son and causing him to be permanently brain damaged.

Richard Lovell, 25, a former chef, of Treborth Road, Blacon, “lost control” and shook his four-month-old son, R-Jay Lovell, leaving him with bleeds to the brain and extensive haemorrhages in both eyes, Chester Crown Court heard yesterday.

Lovell, who took the unresponsive child to hospital after the incident on February 6, 2012, had initially claimed to have dropped his son but later told police he panicked after he had shaken the child to stop him from crying.

Lovell had called the child’s mother, his former fiancee Leanne Bullock, in a hysterical state after the incident in Chapel Lane, Boughton, where Miss Bullock lived with her son.

Some time after the event Lovell sent a text to Miss Bullock telling her: “I am sorry. I did not mean to hurt our son.”

Such was the extent of his injuries, which included a fractured forearm, the child, now 18 months old, was left severely visually impaired, unable to talk and suffers daily seizures, requiring him to have 24 hour care for the rest of his life.

Lovell, who has children from a previous relationship, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Patrick Thompson, defending, said Lovell had not intended to harm his son and said the former chef had been working long hours. He was a hands on father, was extremely tired and had failed to cope with his son.

Mr Thompson added: “I don’t say this to excuse what happened but these are circumstances which led to this man’s loss of control. This is a man who never set out to harm his child.”

Jailing Lovell for two and a half years, the Recorder of Chester Judge Elgan Edwards, said his sentence was nothing compared to the sentence to which he had condemned his son.

“What you did was evil and wrong. If ever a child or victim was more vulnerable it was your son that day. You ruined that boy’s life, he will never be the same, he will have to be looked after for the rest of his life. The damages you inflicted are appalling and people should know the consequences of shaking a baby or child,” he said.

Mr Thompson added “Nothing that I can say is meant to underestimate the dreadful consequences for this child and his mother. Both of their lives have been ruined.

This is a man who was a hard working young man who lost control and as you have heard when dealing with a child that can have disastrous consequences. He is the father of this child and he has got to live with what he has done for the rest of his life that is a burden which weighs heavy on his shoulders.”