The parents of a 41-day-old baby who nearly died after being subjected to a series of ‘violent assaults’ which meant both his legs had to be amputated have each been jailed for 10 years.
Jody Simpson, 24, and Antony Smith, 47, showed no remorse after the injuries were inflicted on Tony Smith Junior in 2014, Maidstone Crown Court heard on Monday.
Simpson took him to a doctor in November that year with cold-like symptoms but he was taken to hospital in a critical condition after it was feared he was close to death.
Doctors found he had developed septicaemia and several infections and he was put into intensive care at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
X-rays showed he had eight fractures, including a dislocated ankle caused by it being twisted or ‘yanked’.
He survived, but remained in hospital until February 2015, and needed to be anaesthetised 11 times.
As a result of his abuse, both his legs have been amputated and he is partially deaf.
After being discharged he was adopted and given a new identity.
Heather Stangoe, prosecuting, said it was not clear if the series of ‘spiteful assaults’ were inflicted all at once or on different occasions.
She said the couple waited nine hours before seeking medical help.
The pair, said to have been living in a tent near Canterbury before standing trial, denied the allegations but were found guilty of child cruelty and causing or allowing their son to suffer serious physical harm.
Smith told the court he had not taken his son to the hospital sooner because he was waiting for a plumber.
Judge Philip Statman, sentencing, said: ‘[Baby Tony] sustained, at the hands of one or the other of you, injuries which will, and have, caused his life to change dramatically.
‘I cannot be sure which of you caused either, all or any of the injuries and the precise role each of you played.
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‘It’s not an exaggeration to say he was almost at the door of death.
‘Who can a child of 41 days turn to other than those who brought him into the word and are meant to love him unconditionally?
‘This did not happen in this case.’
Speaking in front of the entire jury, which returned to see the sentence passed, Judge Statman said the force needed to break the bones of a baby would have been ‘vigorous’ and he would have been in ‘considerable pain’.
He criticised Simpson for putting her relationship with Smith ahead of caring for her child and said there was nothing to suggest she was incapable of doing so.
Dressed in a grey jumper, she rested her head in her hand and stared blankly at the room while she listened to the proceedings.
Smith, wearing similar clothing, kept his head lowered for the duration and nodded when he was handed his sentence.
Ben Irwin, defending Smith, who had a long history of heroin addiction and offending since 1990, said he had been “targeted repeatedly” with violence over the course of the proceedings and this could continue.
Hayley Pierre, of the NSPCC, told Yahoo News UK: ‘This is a shocking and desperately sad case.
‘Simpson and Smith should have loved, protected, and kept their son safe from harm. Instead, they inflicted life-changing injuries on a defenceless baby and it is right that they are now behind bars as a consequence of their actions.
‘Babies and young children are completely dependent on those who care for them and we all have a duty to look out for their welfare.
‘Anyone concerned about a child is urged to contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000, while young people can call Childline on 0800 1111.’