Northern Ireland

Man who assaulted baby daughter on two separate occasions is jailed

Belfast Crown Court
Image caption The 30-year old man, who lives in the Ards Peninsula, was found guilty of two charges - being cruel to a child and causing her grievous bodily harm

A man who assaulted his baby daughter on two separate occasions in the family home in west Belfast has been jailed.

The little girl sustained two injuries in 2013 - a bite mark to her face aged nine months, and a fracture to her upper arm when she was 13 months old.

A Crown Court judge branded the offences by her 30-year-old father as "appalling".

He was given a 12-month prison sentence which will be followed by two years on licence upon his release.

The 30-year-old man, who lives in the Ards Peninsula, was found guilty of two charges - being cruel to a child and causing her grievous bodily harm.

He told the court he could not cope with parenting, and claimed that the more his daughter cried, the more stressed he became.

Serious

Belfast Crown Court heard that the child's father has Asperger's Syndrome, which the judge accepted may have impacted on how he dealt with stress.

However, the judge said that whilst his condition may be relevant to explain some of his behaviour, the offences were serious and as such attracted a custodial sentence.

Also appearing in court was the child's mother, who was made the subject of a two-year probation order after she admitted a single charge of child cruelty.

The judge said that she failed, as a mother, to protect her child from the risk of harm posed by her partner, given she was aware of the first incident where her daughter's face was injured.

Neither the child's mother nor her father can be named in order to protect the identity of the little girl, who the court heard is now living with a family member and is "thriving."

The court also heard that the couple broke up sometime between the first and second assault as the father still had access to his daughter.

The judge told the 30-year-old: "Such appalling offences against a helpless and vulnerable baby cannot be treated lightly."

During sentencing on Friday, it emerged that the father has had no contact with his daughter since the second assault and is unlikely to do so, while the child's mother has limited access.