A cocaine user injured a tiny baby by biting her in three places and then denied any knowledge of the attack.
Suspicion consequently wrongly fell on the infant’s mum and other family members until culprit Michael Dabbs emailed the police officer in charge of investigations four months later and confessed.
29-year-old Dabbs, who started self-medicating with cocaine for pain relief after suffering a serious injury while working at Cammell Laird, said that the drug got a grip on him when he was under its influence.
It was like I blacked out. She was smiling and laughing and the next crying loudly,” he wrote and went on to express his remorse.
Jailing him for 16 months today Judge Rachel Smith said: “This was gratuitous violence.”
She said that it was clear the baby’s family had been devastated by what had happened.
She had to be medically examined and was in foster care away from her mum until Dabbs told police what he had done.
Dabbs, of New Chester Road, Bromborough, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm.
Iain Criddle, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that bite marks were first noticed by the baby’s maternal grandmother and she assumed she had been bitten by another child.
Three days later the baby was with her paternal grandparents and they saw bites on her left shoulder, abdomen and knee and they contacted social services.
Dabbs denied any responsibility for the injuries but later emailed the officer in charge and admitted being to blame, said Mr Criddle.
“I regretted everything I have done from the moment I done them…I don’t remember doing them…I wish I was in control of my actions when under drugs.”
He continued: “I don’t think I was man enough to face the consequences but now I think I’m ready.”
Mr Criddle said the delayed confession meant that the little girl was away from her mum for longer than would have been the case if he had admitted his behaviour earlier.
John Ballam, defending, said Dabbs, who has previous convictions, “is absolutely disgusted by his behaviour. He is ashamed and has expressed remorse.
“He can give no realistic explanation as to why and how it occurred.”
He had got into drug taking after his accident and had a steel rod inserted into his broken leg:
“He rather foolishly started taking drugs to alleviate the pain and mixed it with a cocktail of alcohol on occasions and believes that must have been the explanation on that day.”
He has voluntarily sought help for his drink and drug problems and is on prescribed medication for his pain.
Following sentencing, Detective Constable Laura Everleigh said: “This was an appalling incident in which Dabbs under the effects of cocaine admitted to repeatedly biting a young baby, who was thankfully not more seriously injured.