A Bedford man who lost control and forcibly shook an eight-month old baby boy has been given a suspended sentence today (15 May).
Alan Thompson, 34, caused the child, who is now aged four, to have breathing difficulties and an epileptic fit.
The child has had one operation to rectify a squint but this was not successful and so he now faces a second operation.
His vision was also affected, although Luton Crown Court was told that should recover by the time he is aged five or six.
Prosecutor Catherine Milson said: “On 18 December 2015, just before 8am, a 999 call was made to the ambulance service. The baby was on a mat on the floor. He was unresponsive and struggling to breathe.
“He was given oxygen and taken to the ambulance. He was taken to Bedford South Wing Hospital and then transferred to Addenbrooke’s Children’s Unit.”
She said he was examined by doctors who found he had suffered an epileptic seizure and had retinal haemorrhages in both eyes. “The medical opinion was that it was the result of him being severely shaken – what is known as shaken baby syndrome.”
Thompson, of Richbell Court, Bedford, appeared for sentencing, having pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.
He had a previous conviction for battery from 2008 when he had grabbed a partner by her hair and thrown her to the ground.
Cornelia Dykers, defending, said that at the time Thompson was suffering from depression and was receiving medication.
She said it was an isolated incident and that there will be a resolution without any long-term physical consequences for the child.
Ms Dykers said Thompson had only been charged more than two years after the offence.
Judge Steven Evans told him: “I accept it was loss of control on a single occasion, but the shaking was forcible and significant. He was particularly vulnerable. He was just eight months old.”
The judge passed a 20 month sentence suspended for two years.Thompson must also carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work and 30 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement.
In addition, he must pay £600 costs.
This is an updated version of a story that clarifies
details relating to the squint operations.
We are happy to make these changes.