A Wolverhampton Crown Court judge has sentenced a couple to prison for causing severe physical damage to their infant daughter by shaking her violently. According to the court proceedings which took place in October, the weeks-old baby girl suffered extensive brain damage after being mishandled by her father in 2016.
Last February, emergency services were called to the couple's home in Tipton, West Midlands, after the baby lost consciousness and had trouble breathing. She spent six days in the ICU during which time doctors found that she had suffered injuries to her brain, fractured ribs and bruising alongside signs of earlier injuries.
At the time, the father of the girl denied having been violent with his daughter and her mother told the police that the baby's bruises were because her husband had dropped the remote on the her head. The father later confessed to shaking the infant violently and was sentenced to 14 years in jail after being found guilty on two counts of grievous bodily harm.
The jury was not convinced by the woman's testimony and found her guilty of allowing the child to come to harm. She was sentenced to three years in prison.
"This is a terribly sad case where a young girl was born with absolutely nothing wrong with her, she had her whole life in front of her, yet this abuse has left her with life-long injuries, many of which she will never recover from," Detective Constable Kim Savage, from West Midlands Police force's Public Protection Unit, said.
The girl will turn two years old early next year but according to the Mirror, she has trouble with motor skills and suffers from impaired vision and epilepsy.
"She also has Global Development Delay meaning she takes longer to reach certain milestones than other children of her age. She is unable to walk, talk or feed herself due to very little limb control, meaning she will require special needs care for the rest of her life," Savage added, urging people to contact the authorities if they see something suspicious.
"In this case family members had noted the bruising but believed the couple's excuses."
What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), a form of abusive head trauma and inflicted traumatic brain injury, is a preventable and severe form of physical child abuse. According to NHS, the condition is a result of a baby being violently shaken by the shoulders, arms, or legs. The trauma may result from both shaking alone or from impact (with or without shaking). The resulting whiplash effect can cause bleeding within the brain or the eyes.
Nearly all victims of SBS suffer serious health consequences and at least one of every four babies who are violently shaken dies from this form of child maltreatment.