A MAN has been jailed for shaking a nine-week-old baby who was left critically injured and temporarily blind.
Steven Macaulay, 30, was left alone with the infant in 2017 before another adult returned to a West Cumbria address. By that stage, the baby’s eyes were closed, its full body limp and it was “making a moaning sound”, Carlisle Crown Court heard.
After a 999 call was made, the critically-hurt tot – whose identity is protected – was taken by ambulance staff to hospital in Whitehaven, and then transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for specialist head injury treatment.
“Further tests led medical staff to believe that the baby had bleeding to the rear of the eyes as well as to the brain stem,” said prosecutor Tim Evans. “Unsurprisingly it was deemed that these injuries could only be non-accidental.
“Expert medical evidence suggests that the injuries were caused by (the baby) being shaken – shaken baby syndrome – with the effect this has by causing the brain to collide with the bony sides of the skull cavity.”
Both retinas were detached by the force of the shaking but had since healed themselves. The baby was rendered blind for two months although sight appeared to have been regained. However, Judge James Adkin heard the extent of its developmental delay could not be fully assessed until school age was reached.
Macaulay, of Moss Bay Road, Workington, admitted causing the baby grievous bodily harm, and was described in court as being prone to angry outbursts although not previously towards people. He was said to have been suffering from mental health issues at the time he committed the offence, and had a “relatively low IQ”.
“It was a momentary incident that of course has had a devastating effect,” said his barrister, Kim Whittlestone.
Judge Adkin, who jailed Macaulay for 30 months, told him: “The injuries you caused were significant and life-threatening.” He added: “In my judgement there could be no more vulnerable victim than this infant.”