Beds, Herts & Bucks

Baby abuser has jail term increased to 15 years

A man from Hertfordshire whose abuse left a baby girl brain damaged has had his jail sentence increased by the Appeal Court.

The 35-year-old from Hemel Hempstead was jailed for 10 years and nine months in October for beatings which left the one-month-old blind and deaf.

Three senior judges decided this was "unduly lenient" and extended the sentence to 15 years on Thursday.

The court heard the girl would need 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

A three-year extended licence period, during which the man can be recalled to prison for re-offending, remains.

'Lifetime of harm'

He was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court after admitting two counts of wounding with intent and one of causing actual bodily harm.

The baby, who cannot be identified, was examined at Watford General Hospital in March and she was found to have a fractured skull and bleeding to the brain.

There was also a fracture to her right thigh and a further fracture to her right shin bone.

At London's Appeal Court, Lord Justice Pitchford said medics found she was "blind, unconscious, fitting, permanently brain damaged and suffering severe injuries".

"As a result of these injuries, she will require 24-hour care and personal support for the rest of her life," he added.

"She will probably never attain speech or learn how to walk. This little girl would have had a normal life had she not been severely injured."

Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC's legal team argued the original sentence did not reflect the extreme gravity of the crimes and failed to recognise the lifetime of harm that had been caused.

In extending the sentence, Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting with Mr Justice Kenneth Parker and Judge Francis Gilbert QC, agreed that the sentence was "unduly lenient", describing the baby's injuries as "catastrophic".

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