Hartlepool dad jailed for causing 'significant brain injury' to baby daughter

A drug addicted father shook his 11-week-old daughter and caused a 'significant brain injury', the long term effects of which are not yet known.

Friday, 15th June 2018, 2:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 5:08 pm
Andrew Cooper

And a court heard Andrew Cooper watched pornography as she was being treated by emergency doctors in hospital.

Cooper was jailed for 32 months by a judge at Teesside Crown Court who said he had abused the joy of having a child.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

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Prosecutor Sean Dodds said the child's mother went out for the day with her sister, leaving the child in Cooper's care.

"She said his frequent use of cannabis had been causing problems between them," added Mr Dodds.

"When she returned on this day, Cooper was on the sofa with their daughter next to him.

"He moved his leg in such a way as to prevent her sitting down.

"He then took the child to bed, refusing her request to let her have her.

"After being downstairs for another hour or so, the mother realised her daughter had been asleep for more than four hours which was unusual.

"She gave her a bottle of milk, but she started to appear unwell."

The court heard the daughter started to twitch and appeared to be having facial fits.

"The mother tried Calpol then phoned her own mother for advice," said Mr Dodds.

"She said ring the non-emergency number or 999 if the child's condition didn't improve.

"The daughter did ring 999, and the child was taken by a paramedic to North Tees Hospital, then to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle."

Mr Dodds said there were no significant external injuries, but the child had suffered a significant brain injury, and an internal eye injury.

"The injuries were consistent with the child being shaken," added Mr Dodds.

"Although only Mr Cooper knows what really went on that day.

"Inquiries showed he was searching for pornography at home while mother and child were at the hospital.

"He later said he had no recollection of how his daughter came by her injuries."

Cooper, 25, of Ivy Grove, Hartlepool, admitted unlawful wounding on February 20, last year.

Stephen Constantine, defending, said in mitigation: "This appears to be a classic case of baby shaking.

"It can only take a few seconds to cause the injuries, but at least the victim has made significant progress since this happened.

"Mr Cooper has his problems with cannabis.

"He cannot recall much of what happened, but he is thoroughly ashamed of himself, as is his family."

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton jailed Cooper for 32 months.

The judge told him: "You had the joy of having a child which you abused as you abused the trust placed in you as her father.

"You carried out this dreadful attack, presumably having lost your temper with the child.

"You were addicted to cannabis, which you had no business taking while you were a father.

"The injuries you caused were serious, and while recovery progress has been made, there may be long term consequences."

Detective Sergeant Iain Pearson, from Cleveland Police Child Abuse Investigation Unit, said: “This has been a difficult investigation and we hope the sentence given today acts as a deterrent for anyone committing this rare, but potentially life changing act, in the future. “My thanks go to the victim’s family for their support and the medical services whose professionalism has been essential in bringing an appropriate outcome and I am pleased that the victim is now doing well.

“Cleveland Police is committed to dealing with any form of child abuse and we would always urge anyone who believes that someone is subject to any form of abuse, whether it is ongoing or historical, to report it in the confidence that it will be taken seriously and investigated fully.”

People can report concerns to police on the non-emergency 101 number.