Baby batterer jailed for 12 years for 'unspeakable' act

Image caption,
Raymond McPhee was found guilty after going on trial

An Aberdeen man found guilty of attempting to murder a six-week-old baby has been jailed for 12 years.

Raymond McPhee had denied assaulting the boy he was looking after at a city flat in 2008, leaving him permanently brain damaged.

A high court jury found the 24-year-old guilty of attempted murder last month.

Judge Lord Uist, jailing McPhee at the High Court in Edinburgh, said it was an "unspeakable" crime on the boy which would "blight his life for ever".

The mother of the child, who was in court to hear the sentence, declined to comment.

The trial heard McPhee was left to babysit when the child's mother went on her first night out since giving birth.

When the baby would not settle, McPhee first tried to drown out his cries by playing music at full volume.

He later pinched him and shook him so hard the child was left with permanent brain injuries.

The next morning the mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, found her baby "floppy" and rushed him to the Royal Aberdeen's Children's Hospital, where he had repeated fits.

He had also suffered a broken rib.

Alison Di Rollo, prosecuting, said McPhee had shaken the baby "to within an inch of his life" and he showed "complete indifference" about whether the child lived or died.

Lord Uist told McPhee: "You were convicted by the jury, on the basis of overwhelming and uncontradicted medical evidence, of the attempted murder of a six-week-old baby.

"You were also convicted of the wilful neglect of the baby by failing to obtain medical assistance and treatment for him, knowing that he had sustained various injuries.

"The crime of attempted murder of which you were convicted is really an unspeakable one."

The judge added: "Your attitude seems to be that there is nothing much wrong with the child as he is now able to walk and talk.

"You completely fail to appreciate that he has suffered serious and irreparable brain damage which will leave him severely disabled and blight his life for ever."

Speaking after the earlier verdict, procurator fiscal for Grampian, Anne Currie, had described it a "cruel and callous attack" on a defenceless six-week-old baby.

She said: "The baby suffered a number of injuries at the hands of Raymond McPhee, who was looking after him at the time.

"Prior to this, the child had been a healthy baby boy. He has now suffered permanent brain damage and will experience a number of difficulties throughout his life due to this impairment.

"Raymond McPhee's actions showed such wicked recklessness towards the child that a charge of attempted murder was appropriate, a view clearly reflected in the jury's verdict."

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