Drunken thug jailed after slapping baby in face

A DRUNKEN thug slapped his partner’s baby girl twice in the face after launching a violent attack on her terrified mum.

The strikes from Paul Coombs, 39, were so severe they left hand print bruises on the 11-month-old’s face.

He struck the tiny baby when he lashed out at her mum as she cradled her daughter in her arms.

Coombs is beginning a two and a half year jail sentence for the “unforgivable” attack.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Coombs, who is deaf, argued with his partner late at night after downing up to four bottles of wine mixed with the heroin substitute methadone.

She went downstairs, but raced back up to the bedroom after she heard her daughter fall to the floor.

Coombs handed the baby to her but lost his temper when the mum told him to get out of the house.

Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, said: “His response was immediate. He lashed out at his partner and in doing so he made contact, slapping the baby twice.

“He punched the baby’s mother on the lip with a clenched fist three times.”

The mother suffered a split lip and was seen by plastic surgeons.

The aftermath of the attack was witnessed by the mum’s two older children who came into the room.

Her eldest child called for the police, and an ambulance also attended.

The mum noticed a bruise appearing on the baby’s face when she went to put her back in her cot.

Both mum and daughter went to hospital because of their injuries.

Mr Hadfield added: “A nurse noticed significant bruising to the left side of the baby’s face and ear, and a senior doctor was alerted.

“The bruising appeared to be a perfect fit for an adult hand.”

John Gillette, mitigating, said: “He had always interacted well with her children.

“It was fuelled by emotion and drink against a background of taking methadone and things completely escalated above and beyond what anybody, including him, could have anticipated.

“There was no intention to injure the baby. He is remorseful.”

Coombs, of Straker Street, Hartlepool, admitted actual bodily harm against the mum and daughter.

He also pleaded guilty to theft of an £8,000 VW car from the owner of Wheatley Hill Post Office on February 13 to pay off a £400 debt.

Judge Howard Crowson said: “No one suggests that you set out that night to harm either of them, but I cannot overlook the fact that having lashed out once you lashed out four times more.

“Having struck the baby, apparently being unsatisfied with that, something which one might have hoped brought you to your senses, you lashed out by punching your partner on three occasions.

“It’s clear the probation service regard you as someone who is genuinely sorry, but what you did that night was unforgivable.”