A High Court judge has ruled that a Polish couple caused “terrible injuries” to a nine month old child (at the date of the judgement) in their care.
In City And County of Swansea v MB & Ors, the child, identified as ‘N’ in the judgment, was looked after by the couple while her mother was at work.
During the course of her stay, N suffered significant brain injuries and cardiac arrest.
The couple claimed the child had suddenly stopped breathing and subsequently collapsed. They added that, despite their panic, they administered CPR until an ambulance arrived.
A consulting doctor said the internal bleeding found was most likely caused by shaking. A second medical expert said it was “highly unlikely” the injuries had been caused by “attempts to revive an unconscious child”.
The two doctors also agreed that a sudden collapse could not be responsible for the extent of N’s injuries.
Even though N has made significant progress in her recovery, doctors said it was “not possible to predict her long term development”. They added that she may not be able to see, move independently or communicate.
Sitting in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Justice Moor ruled that, on the balance of probabilities, “one of these two parents snapped” and shook N when she would not stop crying.
He added that it was “totally out of character for both of them”, noting that neither had been previously criticised for their childcare.
The local authority had suggested the man was the perpetrator, but the judge was not prepared to make a definitive ruling on that question.
The couple’s child, ‘V’, had been voluntarily placed in the care of the local authority since the incident. The judge said that if a care order was to be made, it would have to be established that it was in the child’s best interests.
He concluded that the couple should “come clean and tell the court what really happened”, as it would make the process of deciding what would be in V’s best interests much simpler.
To read the full judgment, click here.
In a similar case, a family law judge recently determined that a child’s injuries had been inflicted by his mother or her partner.
Photo of Swansea by Matthew Griffiths via Flickr