A man who was jailed after the baby he injured in a violent shaking attack died 18 years later has been freed from prison by senior judges.
Marc Edward Guy, 43, left his then girlfriend’s six-month-old son with catastrophic injuries after being left to look after him in 1998.
The child, Ewan Marrin, sustained brain damage and Guy was jailed for 21 months in 1999 for causing GBH.
Having moved from the North East to Ireland, Guy returned to admit the charge and was jailed for another 21 months in August this year.
But today, after an appeal by his lawyers, three senior appeal judges suspended Guy’s term and allowed him to walk free.
Mrs Justice McGowan said Guy, now of Commons Road, Lower Killeens, County Cork, had been a drug user and criminal at the time, but turned his life around.
She told the Court of Appeal in London: “Since 2004, he has committed no other offence.
“He has altered his life and he might properly be described as a very different person today than the man who caused the injury in 1998.
“The offence of manslaughter must be marked by a sentence of custody.
“But in the extraordinary circumstances of this case, we take the view that the sentence can properly be suspended.”
The court heard Guy had been left to look after Ewan by his girlfriend at her home in Seaham, in November 1998.
He had often looked after the child and there had never been any concern about how he did so.
However, when she returned two hours later, the baby was very unwell and was rushed to hospital in Sunderland for examination. He was then transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for further tests. Read more: Coroner’s tribute as parents describe loss of tragic Sunderland teenager Ewan Marrin
They showed he had sustained severe brain damage, probably as a result of shaking.
He lived the rest of his life crippled by severe epilepsy, often sustaining grand mal seizures in the early morning or late evening.
In later years, he was cared for by his mum Michelle Coulson’s ex-partner, his step-dad Ian Coulson. Mr Coulson found Ewan dead in his bed on May 28, 2016, having suffered yet another epileptic seizure.
Mrs Justice McGowan said the care provided by Mr Coulson in recent years was “simply remarkable”.
The loss of Ewan had devastated the boy’s mum and left a gaping void in Mr Coulson’s life, she said.
But she added that Guy had completely changed his life after committing his last criminal offence in 2004.
He was now married and a “caring and careful father and grandfather”.
He also ran a small business in Ireland.
Suspending the sentence, she added: “No sentence can ever begin to repair the harm that has been caused.”
Guy’s 21-month term was suspended for two years.