June 2006: in London’s Criminal Appeal Court, judges ruled Emma Jane Mulliss’ sentence was manifestly excessive and reduced it to eight months

March 2006

Lodger goes to jail for torturing baby

A SOUTH Normanton man has been jailed for five years for cruelty to a baby boy which included burning off the child’s nipples.

The child’s mother Emma Mulliss, 24, left the 14-month-old baby boy with lodger Brian Vessey, 31, at her South Normanton home for a long Easter weekend last year while she went away with her boyfriend.

Vessey pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and four counts of child cruelty.

Mulliss pleaded guilty to two counts of neglect and admitted that the condition of her home was atrocious and unsafe.

T he court also heard that Mulliss had made no attempt to comfort her son who had damage to 39 areas of his tiny body.

She was jailed for a year.


Emma Mulliss pictured 2015

Derby Crown Court heard on Friday that at 7pm on March 29 paramedics went to the house and found the child with multiple injuries.

The baby had suffered 39 injuries, including two serious head injuries, damage to his right eye, blisters on his lips and bruising to the nose, cheeks, head and neck.

Tea tree oil, a plant extract used to treat sores, had been applied neat to an existing wound on the lips.

Vessey was found lying on his side with superficial cuts to his wrist in what Michael Auty, prosecuting, said was not an attempt at suicide but attention seeking.

Earlier that day the baby, referred to as child K in court, had become lifeless and Vessey had shook him but did not dial 999 because he had no credit on his mobile phone and panicked

The court heard that Mulliss made no attempt to comfort her son who had damage to 39 areas of his tiny body.

These were with fingermarks and burns which were consistent with contact with a hot object.

Prosecuting, Michael Auty said: “The injury to the nipples has resulted in the loss of the nipples themselves and scans showed that the child had suffered traumatic brain injury, probably on more than one occasion.”

Steven Gosnell said mitigating for Mulliss, said, “She has to come to terms with the fact that because of her actions she has lost her son.”

Sailesh Mehta, said in mitigation for Vessey, “He was at the lowest point of his life that weekend.”

Child K, who now has mild cerebral palsy, had to have surgery to remove a cataract caused by the abuse. He will have to wear glasses for life and he needs ongoing medical care.

Judge Andrew Hamilton said the child had suffered systematic and pro-longed cruelty at the hands of Vessey. “How long that went on for is unclear. The child will suffer for many years to come,” he added.