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Jury finds young father guilty of breaking 13-day-old son's leg.

A FATHER has been jailed for 18 months for breaking his 13-day-old son's leg after claiming it happened as he changed the infant's nappy.

The 22-year-old said he was holding the baby's legs in one hand, cleaning him with the other and feared his leg might have been dislocated when the baby turned and twisted.

But prosecutors told a jury that the fractured femur could not have happened that way.

The defendant denied grievous bodily harm, claiming he heard a clicking sound as he changed his son's nappy.

But after being convicted, the judge, Mr Recorder Phillip Davies, said it was difficult to think of a more vulnerable child.

"Significant force, outside the normal course of changing a baby's nappy, would have been required," he said.

"During the trial, you sought to evade responsibility for that injury, but you were convicted by the jury."

The break healed within a month and it appeared that the leg was equal in length to the other, although that would be monitored.

The judge said that he had come to the conclusion that the defendant, from Powys, should not be sentenced on the basis that he intentionally, deliberately inflicted the injury, but he had been reckless.

No previous concerns had been expressed about his care of an older child.

"This is not part of a pattern of behaviour," Mr Recorder Davies told Mold Crown Court.

Oliver King, defending, said cases involving children, especially young children, always caused feelings of anger and members of the public would want to see a sentence beyond the powers of the court; but it had not been a gratuitous act of violence or part of a pattern of abuse.

He said: "On the evidence, it seems to have been a momentary loss of self-control. It may have been because the defendant was tired. There is certainly no suggestion that he had ever been violent with his children before."

The defendant, who cannot be named to protect the child's identity, and his partner were separated; he had supervised contact with his children, and after a risk assessment there was no concern about his handling of the baby now.

Mr King said: "He does accept some responsibility. He still denies intentionally breaking his son's leg, but accepts that he was reckless."

Prosecutor Caroline Harris said it was an oblique fracture which required direct trauma or force, beyond what would be used in changing a nappy.

The father denied that he had lost his temper with the baby or used any force upon him.

But doctors found a fracture consistent with trauma or a non-accidental injury.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 21, 2013
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