Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Man jailed for putting six-year-old son's head through a door

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A man who put his six-year-old son's head through a door for taking money was jailed for nine months today.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard how bits of wood had to be pulled out of the boy's head following the attack.

In a separate outbreak of violence he was battered by his father in a bedroom, emerging with a bloodied nose and two black eyes.

A judge described it as the worst case of its kind she was likely to come across.

The 30-year-old east Belfast man, who cannot be named to protect his son's identity, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He also admitted a further two charges of child cruelty.

Although both attacks were carried out in 2007, they only came to light four years later.

In the first incident the boy, then aged six, said his father took him into a bedroom and punched him in the face at least seven times.

His younger sister, who was four at the time, later described hearing banging noises coming from the room.

She said her brother then came out with his nose bleeding and his eyes blackened.

At the time the boy told his mother he had fallen down the stairs, the court heard.

Weeks later he was attacked again after mistakenly lifting some money in the house.

A prosecution lawyer said his father grabbed him and put his head through a door.

"He had bits of wood stuck to his head which he had to pull out," she added.

The boy was taken to hospital but again claimed to have fallen.

Police were alerted in 2011 after the boy and his sister made disclosures to social services.

Their father was arrested and at first denied the charges.

Although he planned to contest the allegations, guilty pleas were later entered to all counts.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd accepted his client had behaved "appallingly" due to a chaotic lifestyle of drinking at the time.

"He was clearly not suitable in any way, shape or form to perform the role of father within the household," the barrister said.

Mr Boyd told how the defendant had himself suffered in childhood, but has since turned his life around and hopes to have future contact with his children.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall described it as a case involving vulnerable victims and an abuse of trust.

"It's as bad an assault as this court is likely to see," she said.

Passing sentence, she confirmed: "There will be nine months in custody for the offences."

The defendant was granted bail pending a planned appeal to the term handed down.

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