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Dad of baby girl who suffered cut tongue and 17 rib fractures jailed

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Parents and the grandmother of a Bristol baby girl have been sentenced after being convicted of causing or allowing her harm after she suffered a catalogue of serious injuries.

A jury heard the six-month old tot was taken to Bristol Children’s Hospital suffering from a cut tongue.

Further examination revealed she had bruises to her face and chest, up to 17 fractured ribs and two broken legs. Experts concluded the injuries were non-accidental.

Read more:My daughter wouldn’t hurt anyone’ gran tells baby murder trial

But Bristol Crown Court heard when police interviewed her mum, dad and gran, now aged 23, 24 and 43, each denied wrongdoing.

The three, who Bristol Live are not naming to protect the identity of the child, went on trial.

They each denied wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), as well as an alternative charge of wounding and a further of causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm.

They also denied two GBH charges and a further of causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm.

The jury unanimously convicted each of them of both the causing or allowing harm charges but cleared them of the GBH offences.

Judge William Hart handed the mum and gran six months’ jail, suspended for 24 months, with rehabilitation.

But, after hearing evidence in the case, he jailed the dad for 28 months.

The court heard the baby was put into foster care and has since been adopted.

Sam Jones, prosecuting, said: “All three defendants took the baby to the Emergency Department of Bristol Children’s Hospital.

He told a jury: “She had a 20mm horizontal laceration to her tongue.

“On further examination the child was found to have further significant injuries.

“As a consequence of doctors observing bruising injury to her face and chest she underwent a skeletal survey.

“That survey revealed at least eight, possibly as many as 17 rib fractures, fractures to both femurs and a fracture to her right tibia.

“Expert evidence confirms that those injuries were considered ‘non-accidental’ and that they must have been caused at some stage between [two dates], in at least two episodes of physical abuse.”

The jury heard the parents met in their late teens, had an unexpected pregnancy and moved in with the grandmother in Bristol.

Social Services were involved with the family and Bristol City Council Children’s Social Care had an ‘open case’ concerning the child’s care.

This was primarily due to concerns about the child’s vulnerability and the parenting ability of all three defendants.

Both parents had significant social care histories.

The family home was a cramped and claustrophobic living environment, the court heard.

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While the parents occupied a bedroom with the baby, in a cot, the gran slept on a downstairs sofa and would stay away on occasions.

It was the prosecution’s case that the baby had an injury to her arm.

That injury was seen by the mum and photographed, and that photograph was subsequently recovered from the gran’s mobile phone.

Again, at a later date, the baby was caused further injury, this time to her forehead.

Further bruising was seen by the mum and, photographed, and that photograph was subsequently recovered from the gran’s mobile.

Those bruising injuries, on the mum and gran’s accounts at interview, were a source for concern to both of them.

The dad was aware of the bruising to the baby’s forehead, the court was told.

Mr Jones said: “On any view, and at the very least, the prosecution say that all three defendants failed to protect the baby from further injury from that point on.

“On at least two separate occasions thereafter the baby was caused serious injuries.”

All three defendants denied wrongdoing.

The dad suggested the baby may have cut her tongue on a toy and the fractures were caused by others.

The mum said her baby would scream when the dad changed her nappy, which may account for the fractures, and she didn’t trust him.

The gran said a toy or dummy could have cut the baby’s tongue, and also said the tot screamed when the dad changed her.

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