| 11.1°C Belfast

Paedophile father given 24 years for horrific attack on his 12-day-old son ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

WARNING: this story includes details of extreme child abuse

Close

Stock image: Judge Fowler said it was deeply concerning that despite his guilty plea, the defendant has never disclosed how or why he sexually assaulted the infant.

Stock image: Judge Fowler said it was deeply concerning that despite his guilty plea, the defendant has never disclosed how or why he sexually assaulted the infant.

Stock image: Judge Fowler said it was deeply concerning that despite his guilty plea, the defendant has never disclosed how or why he sexually assaulted the infant.

A 28-year-old paedophile dad has been handed a sentence totalling 24 years for causing his 12-day-old son injuries so horrific some of those who treated the infant were left traumatised.

The attack happened in September 2018.

Belfast's senior Crown Court Judge Stephen Fowler QC told the Co Down man - who can't be named to shield the identity of his son and family - that the physical and sexual assault on his son was "violent and brutal."

The Belfast Recorder deemed the defendant dangerous and imposed a sentence comprising of 19 years in prison followed by an extended five-year period on licence.

This, the Judge said, was to both punish the defendant and to protect the public.

Judge Fowler said: "The victim was a helpless, small, vulnerable 12-day-old baby when these offences were perpetrated on him.

"He depended on his father to keep him safe, to love him, to protect him from harm, in a home where he would thrive and reach his full potential.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

"Yet it was his own father who physically and sexually abused him in a most outrageous breach of trust.

"The number and nature of injuries sustained were clearly life-threatening at the time he was admitted to hospital.

"He almost died, but for the care he received in hospital, and it will be many years before the full extent of the impact of his injuries will manifest."

The court previously heard the injuries suffered by the infant were akin to "a high-speed road traffic accident or a severe serious assault".

The baby sustained wounds to his head and body, including rib, arm, leg and hand and finger fractures.

Medics who examined the child concluded some of the injuries were likely to have been caused by 'forceful shaking or swinging.'

The infant spent nearly two weeks in intensive care in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital For Sick Children and so severe were the multiple injuries to his fragile little body, he almost died from a heart attack but was revived.

He was initially rushed to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry on the morning of September 30 2018.

At around 10.30pm the evening before, the baby was put to bed by his father, who told his partner to rest downstairs as he would look after the child upstairs.

The following morning, the baby's mother heard her son crying from upstairs. The defendant came down with his son in his arms and said he didn't think the baby was breathing properly.

She noticed her son was pale, he sounded wheezy and blue around the lips and the couple took the baby to hospital.

For almost three years the defendant maintained he'd done nothing to his son. That was until September 3 this year when he finally admitted the charges.

He pleaded guilty to unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm to his son with intent, and to sexually assaulting him.

However, Judge Fowler said it was deeply concerning that despite his guilty plea, the defendant has never disclosed how or why he sexually assaulted the infant.

When he was arrested and interviewed, the defendant - who attended Friday's sentencing via a videolink with Maghaberry - told police his son was unsettled when he put him down and that he tried to wind and rock him.

He claimed his son settled around 3.30am and at 8.30am he woke, heard his son and when he looked over, the baby's lips were blue, his head was swollen and he sounded like he was gasping for air.

And when asked by police if he had sexually abused his son, the defendant said "no way".

Since then, he has refused to disclose what happened, with Judge Fowler concluding the only mitigating factor was his admission of guilt.

The Judge spoke of the defendant's lack of remorse and empathy and said he had attacked his son in a "violent and brutal way."

Turning to the impact on the child, Judge Fowler revealed the youngster still attends the neurological unit and is at risk from developing epilepsy and mental health issues later in life.

The Judge added: "Both he and his mother will have to re-live the trauma of these events when he comes of an age to be told why his father is not part of his life."

The defendant was made the subject of Sexual Offences Prevention Order and will be on the sex offenders' register for an indefinite period.

Due to his dangerous status, he will not be automatically released on licence after serving half of his 19-year sentence.

This will be determined by the Parole Commissioners, and he may have to spend the full term in prison.

When he is released he will be on licence for an additional five years and during this extended period he will be recalled to prison if he breaches any terms of his licence.


Top Videos



Privacy