Glasgow & West Scotland

Thomas Poole jailed for 30 months for assaulting toddler

Glasgow Sheriff Court
Image caption Poole pled guilty to the assaults at Glasgow Sheriff Court

A man who assaulted a toddler causing bleeding to the brain while the child's mother was at university has been jailed for two and a half years.

Thomas Poole, 27, hit the three-year-old boy he was looking after in March at a flat in Whiteinch, Glasgow.

He lost his temper and smacked the child twice on the back, causing him to fall and hit his chin.

On the same day, he sent a text picture of them both cuddling to the boy's mother and told her to "take her time".

The youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also suffered bruises on his bottom, lower back, stomach, legs and chin.

He was kept in Yorkhill Hospital for 10 days before being allowed home.

Poole, from Cardonald, Glasgow, admitted repeatedly hitting the child on the body to his severe injury and was sentenced to 30 months by Sheriff Martin Jones at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

The court heard that Poole had watched the child, who was not well, the previous day while his mother was at university and offered to supervise him again to allow her to check her exam results.

Significant bruising

About 13:00 on the day, he texted her to tell her to "take her time" and said he would have the child ready for bed for her that evening when she came in.

He texted her again about 16:30 to say the toddler had been sick and was going to sleep but reassured the mother that her son was fine and "was just getting the bug out of his system".

Procurator fiscal depute John Bedford told the court: "At 5.51pm, the accused sent the child's mother a text advising her 'he fell a cracker today and has the worst bruise I've ever seen on his bum'."

Poole told her that the boy fell off of the kitchen table and apologised for not watching him more closely.

"On arriving home shortly after 6pm, his mother found him to be lifeless and quite sleepy," Mr Bedford told the court.

"On picking him up, he was sick. On lifting his pyjama top, she noticed that he did have significant bruising."

During the night, the boy told his mum "rub my head" and "my tummy is sore".

She asked him if Poole had hit him and he said "no" but did not answer when asked if he was telling the truth.

The next day, she was advised by her GP to take the boy straight to accident and emergency.

"The staff nurse assessed the boy and found him to have markings which looked like fingerprints, as well as old and new bruising over his back," said Mr Bedford.

"In addition, the staff nurse thought the child looked terrified and in pain."

A doctor noticed bruising on his bottom, back, thighs and front of both legs and abdomen that were not thought to be accidental and consultant Jack Beattie was called for a second opinion.

"By the time Dr Beattie examined the child, it was evident that he had suffered bleeding in various surface parts of the brain," said Mr Bedford.

Severe pain

A number of injuries, including "extensive bruising" over both buttocks up to the lower back and lower chest on the right, were found.

Mr Bedford told the court the consultant's opinion was these were "non-accidental".

The boy's chin and lip were bruised and his lip cut inside, which in the doctor's opinion were caused by his chin forcefully striking a hard surface that, because of the degree of force, caused the bleeding to the brain.

It was suggested that, when the injuries were inflicted, the child would have been screaming and crying and would have been in severe pain afterwards.

Defence lawyer Callum Weir told the court Poole had lost his temper and hit the child twice on the back.

"It was the second strike that knocked the child to the floor, causing the injuries to his head," he said.

"It is also Mr Poole's position, before the child's mother returned, there was an incident when he again lost his temper and struck the child on the leg three or four times."

Mr Weir said his client's remorse was genuine and he fully accepted his responsibility.