Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Midlothian man Jay Bell admits causing baby severe injury

A Midlothian man has admitted culpable and reckless conduct after he threw a baby in the air but failed to catch him properly before shaking him.

Jay Bell also failed to seek medical attention for the two-month-old despite filming him having a seizure.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard the little boy is now registered blind and suffers from cerebral palsy after sustaining brain injury.

Bell had been looking after the baby on 26 July 2013 at a house in Midlothian.

Bell, 23, from Mayfield in Dalkeith, admitted culpable and reckless conduct towards the youngster to his severe injury, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life.

He threw the child repeatedly in the air, but the baby hit his head on a wall, hit a Moses basket and fell to the floor and was repeatedly shaken.

He also admitted wilfully neglecting the baby and failing to seek medical attention.

'Staring vacantly'

Bell's defence solicitor advocate John Keenan sought to have Bell remain on bail ahead of sentencing next month but a judge rejected the move.

Judge Paul Arthurson said there had been "catastrophic medical sequelae" for the child and told Bell: "These offences are likely to attract a substantial custodial sentence."

Advocate depute Andrew Brown said Bell had been lying on a bed and had begun to throw the baby up and down, catching him.

"On one occasion he failed to catch him properly and he fell, first striking his head on the wall behind the bed, then striking the Moses basket and finally the floor, landing on his side," said the prosecutor.

"The accused looked at the child who was staring at him vacantly. The accused picked him up and shook him repeatedly until he began to cry. He then tried to settle the child but without success," he said.

Bell had later babysat the child again when the baby suffered fits, but did not seek medical help although at one stage he filmed him in the process of a seizure.

The child was later taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. He was found to have swelling and bleeding on the brain, retinal haemorrhaging and a fractured rib and ankle.

The prosecutor said the Crown accepted that while Bell's conduct was "plainly culpable and reckless" it lacked the wicked intent for an assault.

He said there was at no stage actual danger to life but the throwing of a child of that age was "inherently dangerous".

Mr Keenan said Bell had suffered from depression and had experienced nightmares and could not sleep.

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