Update: NOW free and not a care in the world – Living in Sutton in Ashfield

June 2014 

Mum left her tiny baby suffering “catastrophic” brain damage


A MOTHER left her tiny baby suffering “catastrophic” brain damage after she angrily shook her daughter to “vent her frustration” after an argument.

She “targeted” the defenceless girl after a drinking session – and the serious brain injuries caused to the girl meant that she would continue to suffer problems for the rest of her life.

The selfish mother showed “gross irresponsibility” after the shaking attack by lying to hospital staff and police, a court heard.

Mercedes Foster, 20, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on the girl. She was sent to a young offenders’ institution for 20 months.

Katherine Goddard, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that Foster’s daughter was born eight weeks premature in August 2012.

Foster was living in Beeson Street, Grimsby, at the time with her boyfriend.

There were five children under eight living there.

The baby involved was aged about three-and-a-half months at the time.

A neighbour alerted social services on December 7, 2012, after hearing the sounds of a child screaming.

A visit was made by social services and the baby seemed to be sleeping soundly in a pushchair.

There were no immediate welfare concerns for any of the five children living there.

Another neighbour later heard the sound of arguing between Foster and her boyfriend, who was the father of the baby.

The infant was crying and Foster claimed she grabbed hold of her and shook her for three or four seconds.

Foster claimed that all she wanted to do was to stop her daughter crying and that, afterwards, the girl went to sleep.

“Things were clearly not right,” said Miss Goddard.

Foster rang an out-of-hours doctor service at 2.40pm on December 8, saying that the girl was pale and refusing her food.

At 6am on December 9, Foster dialled 999, claiming that her daughter had started twitching the night before.

An ambulance was sent and, when the crew arrived, the girl was in the middle of a seizure. She continued to have seizures during the ambulance journey to hospital. The girl was later transferred to Sheffield.

“It was clear she was a very poorly child,” said Miss Goddard.

The emergency services immediately suspected a non-accidental cause for the baby’s condition. There were no external marks of violence and no skull fractures.

Foster was arrested and admitted she had shaken her daughter and that she had lied or failed to tell the truth to the police and the hospital staff.

The baby was placed with a foster carer in May last year. She had made progress and, although she was now approaching her second birthday, was believed to have the abilities of only a baby aged about nine months.

“She requires constant care from the moment she wakes up in the morning to the moment she goes to bed at night,” said Miss Goddard.

“She is incapable of entertaining herself. Her development is still severely delayed. The prognosis remains largely uncertain.

“She is unlikely to improve significantly from the condition she is now in.”

Judge David Tremberg told Foster that a parent was supposed to provide certain standards of care and treatment but her behaviour towards her daughter fell way below those.

“What you did to her was a grave breach of trust,” he said.

Judge Tremberg added: “In a momentary loss of control, you picked that baby up and you shook her for several seconds.

“The result of your actions has been to cause her severe and irreparable brain damage. She will suffer the effects of what you did for as long as she lives.”

Foster had shown “gross irresponsibility” by trying to “deflect blame” from what she did and by not reporting the incident fully and truthfully.