A MAN has been sentenced for fracturing the ribs and leg of a six-week old baby after being ‘overwhelmed by temper’ and fracturing his skull when dropping him.

The horrific injuries came to light when the baby was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough with bruising and swelling to his head, Teesside Crown Court heard today.

Doctors confirmed that the baby’s skull was fractured and upon further examination, they discovered fractures to ribs on both sides of his body and a further fracture to his lower left leg.

Medics concluded that the rib and leg fractures were likely to have been inflicted in the fortnight before the baby was brought into hospital with the head injury and were consistent with forceful squeezing.

In an online hearing at Teesside Crown Court today, a 33-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced for three counts of grievous bodily harm against the baby after pleading guilty to the charges at earlier hearings.

The court heard that the baby was taken to A&E by his mother and grandmother with a visibly bruised and swollen head.

Although medics were initially told that the injuries happened when the baby was playing with another child, they became suspicious because at that age – six weeks old – he was not mobile.

Prosecuting, Paul Newcombe said: “The doctor said the injury would have been caused by the application of significant force and it would have caused obvious pain to the child at the time it was inflicted.”

Mr Newcombe said that the defendant later admitted to officials that the fractured skull happened during play when he threw the baby in the air and accidentally dropped him.

The defendant did not immediately tell anybody about the incident despite the lump forming on the child’s head.

Mr Newcombe said that doctors described the baby’s injuries as ‘acute and significant’ and that he was in pain and discomfort when he was being examined in hospital.

Addressing the rib fractures, Mr Newcombe said: “He (the defendant) lost control of his own temper.

“He became overwhelmed by it and squeezed the child forcefully with both his arms around him and that is what caused the fractured ribs.”

Mr Newcombe said the defendant also squeezed the baby’s leg, adding: “He never intended to harm the child.”

Mitigating, Paul Abrahams described the defendant as being of previous good character, adding that he deserved credit for his guilty pleas.

Mr Abrahams said: “It is quite clear that the defendant has had a poor upbringing.”

Mr Abrahams said that whilst it was ‘tragic and awful’ to see a young child harmed, he believed that there was a realistic chance of rehabilitation for the offender.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Stephen Ashurst said that throwing a baby in the air with ‘powerful force’ was a ‘reckless thing to do’.

He added: “He had a fracture to the lower part of his leg and a number of ribs were also fractured.

“You were later to accept that you had caused those injuries when in frustration and temper you squeezed him because you could not control his crying.”

Judge Ashurst said that information he had received showed that the baby had recovered from his injuries and the defendant had expressed remorse for his actions.

He added: “You have hurt him when you lost your temper.”

The defendant was sentenced to 30-months in prison for the three offences to run concurrently.

Judge Ashurst said that he would serve half in custody before being released under the supervision of the probation service.