June 2018

Hartlepool dad jailed for causing ‘significant brain injury’ to baby daughter

A drug addicted father shook his 11-week-old daughter and caused a ‘significant brain injury’, the long term effects of which are not yet known.

And a court heard Andrew Cooper watched pornography as she was being treated by emergency doctors in hospital.

Cooper was jailed for 32 months by a judge at Teesside Crown Court who said he had abused the joy of having a child.

Prosecutor Sean Dodds said the child’s mother went out for the day with her sister, leaving the child in Cooper’s care. “She said his frequent use of drugs had been causing problems between them,” added Mr Dodds

“When she returned on this day, Cooper was on the sofa with their daughter next to him. “He moved his leg in such a way as to prevent her sitting down.

“After being downstairs for another hour or so, the mother realised her daughter had been asleep for more than four hours which was unusual. “She gave her a bottle of milk, but she started to appear unwell.”

The court heard the daughter started to twitch and appeared to be having facial fits. “The mother tried Calpol then phoned her own mother for advice,” said Mr Dodds.

“She said ring the non-emergency number or 999 if the child’s condition didn’t improve. “

The daughter did ring 999, and the child was taken by a paramedic to North Tees Hospital, then to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.”

Mr Dodds said there were no significant external injuries, but the child had suffered a significant brain injury, and an internal eye injury. “

The baby suffered bleeding to the skull and the retinas of both eyes

The injuries were consistent with the child being shaken,” added Mr Dodds. “Although only Mr Cooper knows what really went on that day.

“Inquiries showed he was searching for pornography at home while mother and child were at the hospital.

“He later said he had no recollection of how his daughter came by her injuries.”

Cooper, 25, of Ivy Grove, Hartlepool, admitted unlawful wounding on February 20, last year.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton jailed Cooper for 32 months.

The judge told him: “You had the joy of having a child which you abused as you abused the trust placed in you as her father. “You carried out this dreadful attack, presumably having lost your temper with the child.

“You were addicted to cannabis, which you had no business taking while you were a father. “The injuries you caused were serious, and while recovery progress has been made, there may be long term consequences.”