Update: To be released on 19th May 2018

May 2017

Man who left baby disabled for life after shaking her has jail sentence cut

A 28-year-old dad has had his jail term cut on appeal after he shook a young baby girl, leaving her “catastrophic” brain injuries and disabled for life.

Lee John Hopkinson, from Buntingford, violently shook the infant when she was in his care.

As a result, the girl suffered severe brain damage and has been left with significant disabilities which include being registered blind, severe learning difficulties and mild cerebral palsy

In September 2016, Hopkinson was jailed for four years and ten months at St Albans Crown Court after admitting two counts of child cruelty.

However judges at the Court of Appeal in London cut the jail term to three years and four months after deeming the original term ‘too harsh’

The court heard the baby was just weeks old when she was taken to hospital after she became floppy and vomited, but was later discharged.

However, she fell gravely ill a few days later and was rushed by ambulance to hospital, where it was discovered she had suffered serious injuries.

Hopkinson eventually admitted he had shaken the baby because she cried

But the court heard the child’s injuries might not have been so severe if he had told medics at the first hospital visit what had happened so they could treat her.

Judge Paul Farrer QC, sitting with Lord Justice Fulford and Mrs Justice O’Farrell, said:

“This was an assault upon an extremely vulnerable victim. It involved an abuse of power and breach of trust.

“His failure to disclose what had happened to medical professionals had the effect of compromising their ability to care for the child.”

However, reducing the father’s sentence, the judge said it was accepted this was a “sudden flash of temper” from a man of previous good character.

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