Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

CRUELTY TO BABY COUPLE GO FREE; Court Told of Failure to Get Medical Help for Girl

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

CRUELTY TO BABY COUPLE GO FREE; Court Told of Failure to Get Medical Help for Girl

Article excerpt

Byline: By GARETH LIGHTFOOT

A NEGLECTFUL young couple have been branded "a high risk to children in their care" after failing to get medical help for their bruised baby daughter.

Christopher Davey, 22, and Emma Hullah, 19, saw their first-born hospitalised after she suffered a serious head injury, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Both of the young parents were spared prison yesterday after admitting child cruelty charges.

Doctors found brain swelling, bruises to the chest and scalp and haemorrhages to the eyes of the 11-week-old baby girl.

Staff at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, felt the injuries were "non-accidental", a surgeon concluding the child had suffered violent shaking or impact about 10 days earlier, around September 4, 2006.

On that day, Davey ran from the family home with the child in his arms, saying she had suffered a fit.

The baby was taken to hospital but discharged the same day - a move criticised by defence lawyers.

The parents were advised to monitor her progress and bring her back if there were concerns. But they failed to do so as her condition worsened. In the next 10 days, she suffered two more fits, and was described as gasping for breath, heart racing, eyes rolling, cold to the touch and foaming at the mouth.

The pale, underweight, malnourished child was not taken back to hospital until staff at a Sure Start support group Hullah attended raised concerns. It was then that the injuries were discovered.

"We are unable to prove who specifically caused the injuries," said prosecutor Martina Connolly.

Davey and his partner Hullah, both of Angling Green, Skinningrove, denied injuring her, allowing or knowing of the injuries. They admitted child cruelty purely by neglecting to seek medical intervention.

Their daughter stayed in hospital for 15 days, but later underwent surgery twice to stop a brain bleed. …

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