October 2016

Drug addict jailed after biting and suffocating ‘vulnerable’ baby until she turned blue

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A man has been jailed after admitting viciously attacking a ‘vulnerable’ three-month-old baby and suffocating her until she turned blue.

Cannabis user Daniel Rushby pleaded guilty to a string of crimes over 15 months, which reduced relatives to tears in the courtroom as they listened to the distressing details.

Grimsby Crown Court heard the 23-year-old kicked the infant – while wearing shoes – which caused purple bruising inside her ear, and on one occasion bit her face.

He also admitted hitting her arms and legs so hard he left bruises, and holding his hand over her mouth until she turned blue.

The 23-year-old also confessed to kicking his partner out of the bed before dragging her back – pinning her to the bed and headbutting her in the face and biting her forehead.

The horrific abuse only came to light when a relative spotted the disturbing marks and raised the alarm with social services.

Rushby, from Grimsby, also admitting assaulting his ex-partner after going two days without marijuana.

He was jailed for four years and three months by Judge Kate Buckingham, receiving three years for five counts of child abuse and a further 15 months for the assault on his ex-partner.

Prosecuting, Claire Holmes said: “This was serious cruelty over a significant number of months and was deliberate violence against a young baby.”

She recounted a conversation with his ex-partner, where he shouted: “I hurt her. I tried to kill her. Why do I need to tell you why?

“I bit her on the face. I know I did wrong. As soon as I saw her face go blue I stopped and left the room.”

The prolific cannabis user initially denied the abuse, telling family members that bruising under the baby’s bruises were caused by her rolling around and falling off the sofa.

But relatives became concerned due to the deep purple bruising inside her ear, and a specialist paediatrician testified that the marks were rarely seen in babies under the age of 12 months.

He added the bruising was consistent with being kicked by an adult wearing shoes.

Andrew Bailey, for Rushby, said his client was sorry for his actions.

Adding that his confession began court proceedings, Mr Bailey said: “That and his remorse shows he was unable to live with the guilt.”

Reading texts Rushby sent to his mother, he said: “I just want to disappear. I can’t stop crying.

“I don’t want to feel the pain. I messed up. I hurt so much.”

The infant made a full recovery and his now hitting her developmental goals, he said, adding Rushby did not cause any permanent damage.

Mr Bailey continued: “It is hard to imagine a more unpleasant case than assaulting a baby. It is the most severe breach of trust of a very vulnerable baby.

“It appears at the time he was addicted to cannabis. There is plenty of evidence of his depression.

“He used cannabis to get away from his thoughts and feelings.”

But relatives criticised the prison sentence, saying: “He should have got longer.

“When a child goes blue you literally have 30 seconds before permanent brain damage or death.

“He made her go blue and then bit her and walked away and left her.

“He did not know if she was dead or not. An ambulance should have been called.

“When he kicked her he kicked her out of her babywalker.

“It is not enough. I don’t think he should have had any credit.

“He has shown no remorse. She was only three months old. He admitted all of it.”

Rushby was also banned from contacting his ex-partner or her family for five years