A DAD has been jailed after a court heard how a one-year old baby was burned by an iron while living in squalid conditions in a house littered with drugs and dog mess.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in court alongside the baby’s mother to face neglect charges after the child’s injury was spotted by police officers carrying out a drugs raid at their Hartlepool home.
Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard the house was littered with dog faeces and drug paraphernalia, and smelled of urine.
Magistrates refused to lift an order which bans the Mail from publishing any details of the defendants or their address for fear of identifying the child.
But it emerged in court that the injury happened the day before the police raid when the boy’s mum – who was a heroin addict at the time – was ironing and turned her back for a short time.
Both her and the child’s father did not seek medical attention for the “unpleasant burn” but ran the injured hand under a cold tap, washed it, layered on Vaseline and gave the victim Calpol.
The Crown Prosecution Service laid neglect charges against them after concluding the pair should have sought medical attention for their son’s “unpleasant” wound.
The CPS said the injury should have been seen by a medic, as the burn would have been painful and should have been treated with a painkilling analgesic.
The child’s 29-year-old mum and 23-year-old dad appeared in court and each pleaded guilty to wilful assault, ill-treatment and neglect of their child on July 16 last year, after initially denying the charges.
Prosecuting, Chris Atkinson said: “Officers executed a drugs warrant at the defendants’ home address and while in the house they found the one-year-old with a burn to the hand. It’s quite an unpleasant burn.
“The house was in a dirty state with the kitchen carpet smelling strongly of urine. There was no carpet in the front room, which had a hole in the floorboards and a broken electric fire.
“There was dog faeces on the floor, drug paraphernalia scattered about the room and what appeared to be cannabis.” Mr Atkinson added: “The child’s mum said she’d been doing some ironing. She turned her back and the child unfortunately burned the hand.
“What happened thereafter was not the appropriate course of action. There was no medical attention sought for the wound. A consultant paediatrician said the burn would have been very painful at the time and should have had some analgesia.”
Mitigating, Neil Taylor said his clients believed they had cared for the child “as best they could” following the accident.
And he said the mother is a “success story” and has managed to get herself off heroin and methadone.
“This happened at a very low point in their lives,” said Mr Taylor.
“They probably made the wrong decision in not taking the child to see a doctor. But there was no treatment required when the child was seen the day after, when police went into the home.”
Chairman of the bench, Keith Gorton, sentenced the father to 16 weeks in prison and adjourned sentencing the mother until the Probation Service can carry out a pre-sentence report.