Man attacked baby before blaming injuries on toddler's 'rough cuddles'

Neil Kirton apparently hurt the boy while feeding but told police that the injuries could have been inflicted by another child.

Neil Kirkton left baby brain damaged and blamed injuries on young girl’s ‘rough cuddles’ Google Maps

A man who left a two-month-old baby badly brain damaged suggested to police that a toddler could have caused the injuries.

Neil Kirton is said to have hurt the boy while feeding him late at night but told police that the injuries could have been inflicted by another child “being a bit rough” when cuddling him.

During his trial the court heard that the 29-year-old went to his labourer job after attacking the child at his home in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

On July 6, 2020, the baby was rushed to hospital looking pale and having not taken his feed.

A judge heard how medics concluded the youngster’s injuries were “consistent with shaking and/or strangulation”.

He later gave a number of statements to police making a string of claims as to what happened.

Prosecutor Chris Fyffe told the court: “He said he did not know any reason as to why (the child) would have a bleed on the brain.

“He said that he ‘could only suggest (a 20-month old girl) was being a bit rough with the boy in cuddling him’.

But, Kirton is now behind bars after he pled guilty to assaulting the baby to his severe injury, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life.

He had initially faced an accusation of attempted murder.

A sobbing Kirton had his bail removed and was remanded pending sentencing.

The High Court in Glasgow heard how the boy’s mum had moved into Kirton’s home along with her children just days before the attack.

On the morning of July 6, Kirton got up to give the baby a night feed, but within an hour he woke the child’s mum to ask if the boy was “alright”.

Mr Fyffe said: “The assault took place at some point after Kirton removed the baby from his Moses basket.”

Unaware of the horror, the mum thought her son may just be “sleepy”.

Kirton put the child back in the basket.

Around 7am, Kirkton took the mum and son to another woman’s house on his way to work.

It was there the alarm was raised as the ill baby was cold, pale and still not feeding.

The mum initially contacted her GP, who was so concerned he ordered the baby to be taken to Wishaw General Hospital.

The boy went on to suffer a number of seizures.

Mr Fyffe said an “abusive head injury” was suspected due to a life-threatening brain bleed.

The baby was also found to have several suspicious “pin-prick bruising” at his neck area.

Doctors concluded these markings were “suggestive of inflicted trauma”.

Mr Fyffe: “A devastating lack of oxygen to the brain can be caused if the neck is injured, squeezed of there is strangulation by forceful handling.”

The court was told Kirton has not given an explanation as to how the injuries occurred and is apparently “unable to fully recall what happened”.

However, he made a series of claims while being quizzed by police shortly after the attack.

Kirton said he could have been “heavy handed” as he was not used to “being around a young baby”.

In another statement, he remarked hearing a “hard knock” after putting the child onto his changing mat.

He added: “This is all my fault. It has been on my watch.”

Kirton was also said to have told his boss the boy had been restless during the night, but thought it was because he had turned the heating off.

The court was told the boy has a weakness on his left side and it remains unknown how “significant” that will be.

But, the signs the boy will be able to live a “normal life” in the future fortunately remain “positive”.

Lord Arthurson told Kirton: “You have pled guilty to an extremely grave offence.

“Standing that, custody is inevitable. Your bail will be revoked.”

Kirton will be sentenced in Edinburgh on May 10.

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