Dad avoids jail over toddler injuries


- Credit: Archant

A CLEVEDON father has avoided going to prison after his 18-month-old daughter was found to have fractures and multiple bruises on her body.

The child’s stepmother, however, has been jailed for her part in neglecting to look after the toddler.

The couple, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, were both sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Friday – the father, aged 40, pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty/neglect to a child and his wife pleaded guilty to three.

The injuries to the girl were discovered in June 2012, when the couple asked friends to look after her while they went to a concert.

When dressing the child, the friends noticed her leg was painful when moved and so advised the dad to take her to the doctors.

A resulting hospital visit and X-rays revealed a clean break in the toddler’s left femur as well as evidence of an old fracture to her arm and another to her right femur which was thought to be about three weeks old. Doctors also noticed a number of other marks and bruises on her body.

The couple gave varying explanations for the marks and said the leg injury had been caused when the child fell off their sofa.

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However, a police investigation followed and in April 2013, the pair appeared for their first court hearing, held at North Somerset Courthouse near Weston.

At the time they were both charged with assaulting or ill treating a child, to which they pleaded not guilty, but this was later altered to the lesser charges for which they were sentenced last week.

These relate to the fact the child was left unrestrained and unsupervised while on the sofa and the fact the couple failed to seek immediate medical attention for her injuries.

On Friday, the stepmother was sentenced to 20 months in prison and has also been added to the list of people barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.

The father was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and has also been added to the same list of people barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.