A MAN who seriously assaulted his ten-month old baby after she repeatedly woke while teething has been jailed for nine months.

The former soldier, from Middlesbrough, said he “snapped” and squeezed the child’s face hard for two to four seconds.

However, Teesside Crown Court heard his account was not entirely consistent with the bruises that were discovered on the baby’s face.

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A doctor's report concluded that the child was held extremely tightly for a long time with significant force in what was described as a “smothering way”. It was also possible she had been slapped as well.

It said: “The child would have been extremely distressed and very frightened. It was obviously a serious assault against a small child.”

Prosecutor Sue Jacobs had described how the 23-year-old defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been left with the child while his partner – the baby’s mother - went out.

When she returned he described how he had taken the baby downstairs when she could not settle. She had then tensed up and flung herself to the floor.

Mrs Jacobs said the next morning the baby was taken to the hospital by its mother after a number of bruises were found on her face.

Both the mother and father were interviewed by police under caution with the 23-year-old defendant initially making “no comment” replies.

He eventually admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm in August last year.

Rachel Dyson, mitigating, said he accepted he had become angry and agitated and had lost his temper. He had struggled to reintegrate into civilian life after leaving the Army and had issues with anger management as well as with alcohol and drugs.

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton told the defendant: “[This] was an offence of violence perpetuated against a completely innocent young baby – your daughter."