Man who left two-month-old baby boy badly brain damaged jailed

Neil Kirton assaulted the baby in North Lanarkshire before suggesting a toddler could have caused the injuries.

Neil Kirton who left two-month-old baby badly brain damaged jailed for seven years STV News

A man who left a two-month-old baby badly brain damaged has been jailed for seven years.

Neil Kirton, 29, assaulted the boy before suggesting a toddler could have caused the injuries.

The child was rushed to hospital on July 6, 2020, looking pale and having not taken his feed.

Medics concluded the youngster’s injuries were “consistent with shaking and/or strangulation” of the baby.

Kirton has now been sentenced by judge Lord Arthurson at the High Court in Paisley.

He had pled in March at a hearing in Glasgow to assaulting the baby to his severe injury, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life.

The crime occurred at Kirton’s home in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

The boy’s mum had moved in with Kirton, along with her children, days before the incident

On the morning of the attack, 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 assault, the mum thought her son may just be “sleepy”. Kirton put the child back in the Moses basket.

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

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.

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 to police shortly after the incident.

Mr Fyffe told how this included him alleging: “He said he did not know any reason as to why (the baby) would have a bleed on the brain.

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

Kirton also stated 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 signs that the boy will be able to live a “normal life” in the future fortunately remain “positive”.

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