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A father who assaulted his baby son in a "shocking and upsetting" case of child cruelty has had his jail time extended after a review by the Court of Appeal. The boy, who was just four months old, was admitted to hospital with a fractured left femur in the early hours of January 2, 2019.
Both parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told hospital staff that he had been having his nappy changed by his father, in his late 20s, at around midnight when he heard a "pop". The boy’s mother, in her 30s, allegedly then went to check on the child and noticed the boy’s leg was "floppy".
The parents, who lived in Peterborough at the time, took their child to hospital, but doctors did not believe their story. Further scans carried out the following day revealed at least two older fractures to the young boy’s leg and arm, as well as a possible fracture to his ankle.
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Medical experts believed the boy’s injuries were non-accidental and his parents, who were his only carers and had no other children at the time, were not telling the truth. They were both arrested and in interview both denied causing the injuries or knowing who had caused them.
On the day the pair's trial was due to begin at Cambridge Crown Court (July 4), the father pleaded guilty to causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm, while the mother admitted child cruelty. They were sentenced at the same court in September where the father was handed one year and 10 months in prison.
The mother was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years. She was also ordered to complete a rehabilitation activity requirement and a 12-month mental health treatment programme.
The boy's father appeared before the Court of Appeal on Thursday, November 24, after prosecutors considered his sentence to be too lenient. His sentence has now been increased to three years and four months.
DC Kev Foxcroft, who investigated, said: "This was a shocking and upsetting case in which a boy of just four months old suffered significant injuries, and this is reflected in the Court of Appeal’s decision today. His parents were the people he relied upon to keep him safe and they failed to do this.
"Thankfully, he is now thriving in a safe and happy environment, but there was real potential for the outcome to have been far worse, if the appropriate agencies had not become involved when they did. I’d like to praise the actions of the health professionals who noticed when something didn’t seem quite right, and also urge anyone who is concerned for the welfare of a child to report it. We all have a responsibility to protect children in our communities."
Anyone who has concerns about a child, no matter how small they may seem, can report them by using the force’s web chat function or calling 101. Further details on child protection, including child abuse, can be found on the force’s dedicated web page.