October 2020

Man smashed baby’s head against post after cries disturbed his video game

A man who violently attacked a three month old baby after he was disturbed from playing his video game that left the baby with lifelong medical problems has been sentenced to just 27 months 

Andrew Woodhall shook the three month old baby for 90 seconds and also smashed the baby’s head against a stair post after he was unable to stop the baby from crying.

The 24-year-old, of Victoria Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, told how the victim’s mother said her “world came crashing down when Andrew admitted what he had done”.

She added that the child may never walk, talk or play like other children.

Mr Perks said that Woodhall picked the child up from the cot and walked onto the landing.

“He stopped shaking the child when he heard a thud which he believed was [the youngster’s] head hitting the post at the top of the stairs,” he told the court.

As the baby became unresponsive, Woodhall attempted CPR then rang the emergency services.

As emergency services arrived at the scene, the baby was “pale, unresponsive and had significantly reduced breathing”.

The baby was admitted to hospital with fitting, hemorrhages and multiple rib fractures.

The tiny youngster was then transferred to another hospital in Newcastle.

The doctor in charge of the care said the child had sustained a severe brain injury, with multiple bleeds around the brain.

In interview, Woodhall said the baby was crying so he carried the child downstairs to give some milk.

Woodhall maintained his account until January 2017, when the case was brought to the family court.

He then admitted lying to police saying he was “scared” adding that he “lost his patience and became angry”.

Almost four years after the incident, Woodall has finally faced justice for the devastating impact his actions had on the child and its family.

Teesside Crown Court heard a heart-breaking victim personal statement from the child’s mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, as she laid bare the horrendous difficulties her child has faced since.

In her statement, read out in court by Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, she said: “The day he finally admitted what he had done, my world came crashing down. I felt so much anger and hate, which was replaced by a feeling of sadness.

“Sadness about all the things I had missed out on with (her child) because of him, then thinking about all the things that I will miss out in the future and never experience with (with child).

“(The child) may never walk or talk or play like other kids. I constantly worry about the life (the child) will have.”

The child’s mother added: “I will never hear (the child) say they love me and never hear (the child) call me mummy, I will never see (the child) take its first step and never get a cuddle.”

The youngster has been left dependent on medication to tackle its epilepsy and is fully reliant on 24-hour medical care.

Mr Perks told the court that Woodhall had initially claimed that it was an accident but medical examinations carried out at the University Hospital of North Tees identified a number of ‘catastrophic’ injuries had been inflicted on the baby.

“He stopped shaking the child when he heard a thud which he believed was its head hitting the newel post at the top of the stairs. He told the police he had shaken the baby for some 90 seconds and not the 30 seconds he had previously maintained,”