Tayside and Central Scotland

Man found guilty of putting baby in tumble dryer

Thomas Dunn
Image caption Thomas Dunn was convicted following a five-day trial at Dundee Sheriff Court

A man has been found guilty of putting a 13-month-old girl in a tumble dryer.

Thomas Dunn claimed he had only "assisted" the toddler, saying the child had been climbing into the machine herself.

The 25-year-old, from Hamilton, said he did not fully close the machine door on the child, but the dryer had activated and started rotating.

Dunn was also found guilty at Dundee Sheriff Court of causing fractures to the child's skull during an assault.

He was convicted of culpable and reckless conduct by placing the child in the dryer and closing the door, causing the machine to activate.

'Tucked her leg in'

During evidence the court was told that the incident happened sometime between the end of 2017 and the start of last year in Arbroath.

On the separate charge of assault, Dunn was convicted of striking the child on another occasion on the head and body, causing severe injury.

Sheriff Alastair Brown told Dunn he "must have hit that little girl extremely hard at least twice" in order to inflict what were potentially life-threatening injuries.

He said it was "only by her good fortune and perhaps yours" that Dunn was not tried at the High Court on a charge of murder.

Giving evidence in his own defence, Dunn claimed he had not "pushed" or "squashed" the baby into the machine but had "tucked her leg into it" after she had climbed in herself.

He said: "I didn't know the switch was on, it would've been the pin that activated the safety switch when it touched it.

"She was already climbing into it and I tucked her leg in. I closed the door but not fully, it wasn't like properly shut.

"It wasn't long, it wasn't like minutes she was in it."

'Bad judgement call'

Prosecutor Nicola Gillespie asked Dunn: "Why on earth did you do that, assist, tuck, whatever you want to call it, that child into a tumble dryer?"

He replied: "I don't know, it was a bad judgement call."

Earlier in the trial, the child's mother told the jury the toddler was not strong enough to be able to climb into the machine herself.

Asked about Mr Dunn's demeanour, the woman replied: "There was just no emotion. I felt like he felt like it was a joke."

Dunn was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing at the High Court at a later date.

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