Sunderland man who left four-month-old baby disabled for life with 'catastrophic' injuries is jailed

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

A man who caused "catastrophic" injuries that left a four-month-old baby disabled for life has been put behind bars.

Andrew Ross, 30, shook the tot, who had accidentally fallen from his knee and appeared to be unconscious after jerking his head, in a bid to "snap him out of it".

As a result, the baby suffered a severe brain injury that has left him with lifelong learning disabilities, developmental delay, sight problems and the inability to ever lead in independent life.

At Newcastle Crown Court Ross, of Cheltenham Road, Hylton Castle, Sunderland, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and has been jailed for 21 months.

Judge Paul Sloan QC told him: "It is accepted you did not set out to cause any harm, let alone the degree of harm that you occasioned.

"The consequences of what you did have been very serious indeed and can only be described as catastrophic.

"He will be severely disabled for life.

"He will not lead an independent life and will have lifelong care needs."

Judge Sloan said he accepted what happened was not premeditated but involved a "high degree of recklessness".

The court heard Ross, who has never been in trouble before, had been giving the baby a bottle when he kicked out and slipped off his knee but was caught before he got to the floor.

Ross initially claimed the baby's injured state was entirely down to the fall, when his head and neck jerked.

But two weeks later he confessed he had shaken him.

Ross said the baby was limp after his head jerked violently in the fall and "in panic" he decided to shake him "to see if he could snap him out of it".

When detectives asked him why he would shake a baby who he feared may be badly injured accidentally, he said he "wasn't thinking logically".

Paul Cross said since the offence four years ago, Ross, who he described as a "caring" man, has worked hard in his employment, built his relationship and has a baby on the way with his partner.

Mr Cross said what happened was a "tragedy" and added: "The offence arose out of a bad reaction to an emergency.

"The defendant is an otherwise responsible young man."