September 2013

Man broke baby’s bones during attack while feeding and dressing

For photo of this offender – Please click this link

A man left a baby with broken bones after he threw him onto a bed when he struggled to feed and dress him.

Michael Lawrence attacked the child, who was several weeks old, which left him with several broken ribs and a broken tibia when doctors examined him.

The 23-year-old, who was looking after the baby because his mother was unwell, claimed he did not notice inflicting injuries on the child. Lawrence was jailed for ten months at Perth Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

His lawyer told the court the baby’s bones would have been soft at the time and would have broken more easily than an older child or an adult’s.

Lawrence, of High Street, Alyth, admitted culpably and recklessly forcing a bottle into the baby’s mouth and forcing his legs into clothing in November 2011.He pled guilty to throwing the baby onto a bed and then striking the child’s body with his own and causing the youngster severe injury as a result.

Lawrence further admitted attacking a woman by punching her face. The court was told that the baby suffered a break in his leg as Lawrence, who has several previous convictions, twisted his leg to try and put clothing on him.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis told the accused: “This was a child who was less than two months old. The child was thrown onto the bed with sufficient force that three ribs were fractured. The child was months old and effectively defenceless. The child was utterly dependant for his care and protection. The child was vulnerable.

“The child’s bones were soft and accordingly, fractures can occur in circumstances where if the child were older they may not occur. You have, on at least two occasions, acted in a way which has caused injury when feeding a child by using excessive force. It also has to be taken into account that you were not just causing injury, but causing severe injury as a result of your actions. I consider it is appropriate for the court to impose a custodial sentence.”

Fiscal depute Stuart Richardson told the court that Lawrence had been taking care of the baby shortly after it was born to help out the child’s mother because she kept poor health. Mr Richardson said the baby fell ill and was taken to a health centre, and because of the injuries seen on the body, he was referred to the child protection team at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

They found evidence of three broken ribs and a tibia break which were in the process of healing. Lawrence eventually came forward and admitted his actions as he struggled to feed the baby a bottle and get him dressed.

The court was told that Lawrence confessed to social workers that he had been struggling with his “anger, frustration and aggression” and had taken it out on the child. Sheriff Foulis heard the child now appeared to be in good health and was unlikely to have any memory of what Lawrence had done because of his age.