A HEROIN addict who shook his two-week-old son so badly that he suffered permanent brain damage was yesterday jailed for seven years.

Paul Cool, 22, told police that baby Joshua's injuries were caused when he accidentally fell off a sofa.

Joshua's mother, Lynsey Mandry, also "persistently lied" to police and failed to promptly take the child to hospital when it was clear he was seriously ill, Teesside Crown Court was told.

Joshua, who suffered severe brain injuries and bruising to his body, was eventually admitted to intensive care in hospital, where his condition was initially described by doctors as life-threatening.

Now nine months old, he has since made a recovery, but he is likely to be permanently disabled and may not be able to walk or look after himself.

Yesterday, Judge Les Spittle told heroin addict Cool, who also admitted stubbing out a cigarette on Joshua's leg, that he had "ruined the life" of his own child.

He said: "In any civilised society, the thought of anybody injuring a baby who is only days old is an abhorrent thought."

Cool, of Garside Drive, Hartlepool, who pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice, received a total of seven years in prison.

His now ex-girlfriend Mandry, of Crescent Road, Middlesbrough, who admitted perverting the course of justice, was handed a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Judge Spittle, who lifted reporting restrictions on the case, said that while there was no suggestion Ms Mandry had been violent or cruel to Joshua, she had diverted the police away from properly investigating her baby's injuries.

All the offences were carried out between June 30 and July 6 last year.

Sarah Mallett, prosecuting, said that Joshua's head injuries were consistent with "severe shaking" and did not tally with the account given by his parents.

Nigel Soppitt, for Cool, said: "He has been a hopeless heroin addict and an unfit father.

"He despises himself for what he has done."

Deborah Sherwin, representing 21-year-old Mandry, whose stepmother and father now care for Joshua, said: "She was very foolish in maintaining a lie, but later admitted it and changed her account."