Manchester

Man guilty of punching five-day-old baby in Baguley Tesco

Elsie Rose Image copyright Amy Duckers
Image caption Baby Elsie Rose was on her first trip out with her family

A man has been found guilty of punching a five-day-old girl at a supermarket.

Baby Elsie Rose was hit in the face at a Tesco store on Altrincham Road in Baguley, Manchester, on 5 September.

David Hardy, 64, of Longfield Road in Baguley, denied assault and told Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court he thought the baby was a doll and it was a "dreadful mistake".

He was fined £900 and ordered to pay £500 costs and £100 compensation.

Elsie Rose was in a car seat placed in a shopping trolley next to her older sister when she was attacked.

It was her first trip out with her family, the court heard.

Her mother Amy Ducker told the court she was left "absolutely distraught" by the incident, which happened after she had bumped into a neighbour who worked at the supermarket.

'Loose fist'

The neighbour had called her colleague, Hardy's wife, over to look at the "beautiful baby", she said.

She told the hearing Hardy had then approached and, without saying a word to her, punched the baby in the head.

The five-day-old child was taken to hospital and monitored overnight but was later discharged.

Hardy told the court he had been "messing around to lighten the mood" and thought the "doll" belonged to Elsie Rose's older sister.

Image caption David Hardy denied assault and told the court he thought the child was a doll

He said the seven-year-old "looked bored" and he had asked her: "Is that your baby?"

"She didn't reply and I said 'I'm going to wake your baby up'," he said.

He claimed he then tapped the child with a "loose fist" to "wind up" the girl.

He added that in hindsight, he could see there was nothing playful about his "wholly inappropriate" actions.

Finding him guilty, District Judge Sam Goozee dismissed Hardy's claim that he thought the child was a doll as "implausible".

Speaking after the hearing, John and Linda Duckers, the grandparents of Elsie Rose, said Hardy should have been given a custodial sentence.

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