A MAN who caused a life-threatening injury to a baby was jailed after being branded callous and remorseless by a judge.

Edward Keenan scratched the back of the tot's throat when he shoved his finger in as it coughed, Teesside Crown Court was told.

The 28-year-old, of Catcote Road, Hartlepool, admitted a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm at an earlier hearing.

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Yet he has since told a Probation Service official that he did nothing wrong and only admitted it to get a lighter jail sentence.

He revealed that he planned to take his case to the Court of Appeal to challenge whatever punishment he was given today (Monday).

Judge Michael Taylor jailed him for two-and-a-half years, and told him: "You have shown no remorse whatsoever or understanding.

"This was an extremely vulnerable victim who you callously manhandled to cause that injury. You have tried to cover it up."

Keenan inflicted the injury at a house in Hartlepool and went to hospital with the baby and its mother as the child bled from the mouth.

At hospital, he tried to feed the child a bottle of milk and then a bottle of juice, against the advice of doctors.

Medics saw him trying to put his fingers up the baby's nose to force open its eyes, and when he was challenged, he became abusive.

Prosecutor Martin Towers told the court that security guards had to be called to remove Keenan from the accident and emergency unit.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, described his client as "slow and extremely clumsy" and said he has struggled to accept what he did.

"He is remorseful and greatly regrets his actions," said Mr Withyman. "There was no intent. He clumsily and recklessly caused the injury.

"He feels very guilty and very remorseful for his stupidity. This has been a very traumatic experience for him as well."

The court heard that the child could have died if a blood clot had developed, or blood could have spilled into its lungs.

Judge Taylor said: "The baby suffered a life-threatening injury as a result of your handling . . . you were clearly very rough.

"You have been in absolute denial of doing anything, even as recently as your interview (with the probation worker)."