South Shields man cracked baby's skull as he threw punches at mother

An attacker fractured a baby's skull when he threw a forceful punch - aimed at the child's mother.

Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 6:16 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 7:23 am
Newcastle Crown Court

Donovan Johns had already repeatedly hit the 18-week-old tot's mum, who believed he would stop the violence once she picked up her baby.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard the 28-year-old threw another blow at the woman's face, which missed its target and landed on the baby's head.

The attack, which happened at the mother's North Tyneside home, left the tot with a bruised head and a skull fracture was later diagnosed at hospital.

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Johns, of East Smithy Street, South Shields, admitted two assault charges.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court the attack happened in the early hours of the morning.

The baby's mum said she had been "punched repeatedly to the face and head" and was in pain but suffered no actual injury.

Mr Pallister said: "She states by picking up the child, she thought the assault would stop and she would be allowed to leave.

"This doesn't appear to have worked.

"She described the defendant trying to punch her again as she was holding the baby in her arms.

"It missed her face but hit the baby to the right side of his head.

"It appeared to be a glancing blow to the baby's head."

Medics diagnosed a large skull fracture when the baby given a scan at hospital and said it was a "very serious injury" in a young infant.

Johns was arrested and said the child's mum first but admitted he "lost his temper".

Mr Pallister added: "He accepted when he had gone to hit her it had caught the bairn but said it was not intentional, the injury caused was an accident as far as he was concerned."

Johns said he was "very upset" at what he had done to the baby and could not believe it had happened.

Judge Robert Adams sentenced Johns to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 100 hours unpaid work and rehabilitation requirements.

The judge told him: "At a time when you were hitting the complainant, she picked up her son, hoping that would deter you.

"During the course of the continuing struggle, you hit him a glancing blow on his head, which caused him a skull fracture.

"I accept this was not an intentional blow, you were intending to strike her.

"He was very fragile and that blow caused him serious injury."

John Wilkinson, defending, said Johns was "devastated" by what he did and feels genuine remorse.

Mr Wilkinson said it was the woman's behaviour which sparked the initial argument.