November 2015

Bodmin father jailed for causing his baby son life-threatening injuries


A BODMIN father has been jailed for causing his eight-week-old son injuries which “could have been catastrophic” including bleeding on the brain and a broken femur.

The baby boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has made a full recovery from his injuries, Truro Crown Court heard on Thursday at a sentencing hearing for his father, Martin Griffiths.

Griffiths, 32, went on trial last month accused of assaulting the child.

After a four-day trial, he was found guilty of one count of causing the child grievous bodily harm, in relation to the bleeding on the brain, and three of causing GBH with intent to do GBH, in relation to three fractures to his son’s legs.

During the trial, the court heard the life-threatening injuries were as severe as those caused by a “high-speed car crash”.

The boy was taken to hospital in September 2013 suffering with what were described as “extreme” injuries after he started crying the previous day and the cries got “worse and worse”.

Judge Simon Carr said the femur was the strongest bone in the body and that the only way it could have been broken was for the leg to have been bent until it snapped.

The baby also had a fractured knee and ankle which Judge Carr said had been caused by “twisting and pulling.”

He said: “The evidence showed that the serious injuries that [your son] suffered had to have occurred on at least two, and possibly more than two, occasions.”

He added that on those occasions Griffiths had so completely lost his temper with a young child that he caused “what could have been catastrophic injuries”.

Rupert Taylor, defending Griffiths, said his client was supported by family and friends who were steadfast in their support of him.

Mr Taylor, who described the case as tragic, said Griffiths accepted that the jury’s verdict meant he would have to serve a custodial sentence and had no complaints about that but said he did not accept his conviction.

Griffiths denied the offences and giving evidence, told the jury he fell in love with his son as soon as he was born and that the boy “meant everything to him”.

Judge Carr said in relation to the bleeding on the brain the jury had accepted that Griffiths had not intended to cause his son really serious harm but said that he “must have shaken him for a sustained period of time”.

Griffiths was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Judge Carr added: “Social Services and other bodies will be responsible for ensuring that any care you do have of children in the future is very closely monitored indeed.”