The parents of a seven month-old girl were responsible for several injuries she suffered, a Family Court judge has ruled.
In Lancashire County Council v P (Injured Child), the parents took their daughter to see a GP because of marks found on her skin. They were concerned as there had been a family history of meningitis. The GP identified the marks as a rash and recommended that the child, identified in the judgment as ‘T’, be taken to a hospital.
Upon arriving at the hospital, doctors identified the marks as bruises and also discovered a fracture in one of T’s legs. Social services were informed when the parents offered “no acceptable explanation for these injuries”.
The local authority believed that the parents had been responsible for T’s injuries, so they applied to the Family Court for a fact finding hearing.
A doctor who examined T said the “injuries are rare and associated with non-accidental injury”, as they needed “a pulling/twisting mechanism of significant force”. The mother claimed the fracture had occurred when T and her older brother had been sliding off the bed, prompting her to grab the girl and pull her back.
His Honour Judge Duggan did not accept the mother’s explanation for the injuries. He also heard evidence from the extended family. The mother’s parents were described as “anxious to help their daughter” by the judge, who said that “in doing so they acted dishonestly, choosing to protect their … daughter rather than their grandchildren.”
He ruled that one of the parents had most likely inflicted T’s injuries, but that it was “not possible to determine which of the two is the more probable perpetrator”. Judge Duggan concluded that whichever parent did not inflict the injuries was nonetheless aware of what happened and had “allowed their loyalty to their partner to take priority over the protection of the children”.
To read the full judgment, click here.
Photo by Lydia via Flickr