September 2019

Six month old baby girl left badly brain damaged

A six month old baby girl was left badly brain damaged after being repeatedly attacked in a house.

Shannon Soutter assaulted the girl over a two-month period while she was in her care at a house in Arbroath, Angus.

A judge heard the child was taken to hospital in late April 2018 with brain injuries as well as fractures to her skull, ribs and ankle.

The girl’s anxious dad went with his sick daughter in the ambulance.

Soutter, from Blairgowrie in Perthshire, went with a woman in a car. She was described as “acting normally”.

She was then held by police after medics concluded the injuries were non-accidental.

The first offender now faces a jail term after she pleaded guilty to assaulting the girl to her severe injury, permanent impairment and to the danger of her life.

The child’s long-term prognosis in the meantime has been described as “poor” following the assaults between February and April 2018.

She will be sentenced at a later date.

In March 2018, Soutter once claimed the baby “hates me”. Weeks later, she told a friend the child was “doing her head in”.

It was on April 28 last year, Soutter phoned the girl’s dad asking him to call 999. She said the child was not breathing properly.

When the man arrived, he found his daughter was “silent, limp and lifeless”.

Prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC said: “She was gasping for breath breathing around four times a minute.”

Soutter claimed she had gone for a bath after putting the child in her cot.

She then heard the baby “gasping” and went to find her “unresponsive”. The sick child was initially treated at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

The baby had a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. X-rays also revealed rib fractures of “differing ages”.

Miss Edwards added: “Blood samples confirmed that there were no medical explanation that would account for her presentation and injuries.”

Tests also showed she may have permanent blindness.

Soutter initially claimed she had been “rocking” the child and that she “may” have bumped her head off a table.

The court was told some of the injuries had resulted from “shaking” of the child.

The rib fractures had been caused by “gripping” of the child.

The leg fracture was meantime was called a “rotational-injury”.

Miss Edwards said the brain injury was described as “devastating” by medics.

The prosecutor continued: “Her prognosis is very poor and she will have lifelong disability.”

Soutter initially gave two statements to the police. This included her claiming she had “no idea” how the brain and rib injuries occurred.

It also emerged she had made an internet search asking “what happens” if a baby is hit.

But, she insisted this was to do with “back slaps” when the child had not been breathing.

The case was adjourned for reports. Soutter was bailed in the meantime.