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Man who blamed puppy for baby attack has prison term cut

Paul Carlton, 25, violently shook the eight-week-old boy leaving him with life-changing brain injuries in August 2017.

Jailed: Paul Carlton attacked a baby.
Jailed: Paul Carlton attacked a baby.

A man who tried to blame his puppy for the attempted murder of a baby has had his jail sentence cut from 12 years to ten.

Paul Carlton, 25, violently shook the eight-week-old boy leaving him with life-changing brain injuries in August 2017.

Carlton tried to pin the blame on his “boisterous” American Bulldog-Staffordshire terrier, but was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow last year.

On Tuesday at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, his sentence was cut after his legal team argued that it should have been comparable to that of other people jailed for similar offences.

Appeal court judges Lord Brodie and Lord Turnbull agreed that trial judge Lord Burns did not follow “the principles of comparative justice”.

Lord Turnbull said: “We are persuaded that in this case, the sentence which was imposed was excessive. 

“We shall quash the sentence and substitute it for one of ten years.”

The original trial had heard how Carlton was supposed to be looking after the baby in his flat in Glasgow’s Nitshill area on August 9, 2017.

He had been left in charge while the boy’s mother went for a beauty appointment and lunch with her sister.

The baby had been checked by a health visitor that morning and found to be fine.

However, Carlton later attacked the baby leaving him unable to crawl, walk or talk. 

Carlton told jurors he had been briefly tidying his garden and had left the child on a baby swing in the flat.

He claimed the boy was alone, apart from his two dogs, when he heard a “loud cry” from inside.

He said he could “speculate” the dog seriously injured the baby as he had not done so.

Professor Robin Sellar, a neuropathologist, was asked in court how the boy suffered massive brain damage. 

He said: “In that time frame, something very dramatic has happened. The injuries are consistent with a shaking injury.”

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