How could you do that to baby? asks Sheffield judge

Liam McGill convicted of child cruelty against his baby son Louis
Liam McGill convicted of child cruelty against his baby son Louis

A TEENAGE dad who felt ‘left out’ because his new baby son was getting more attention than he was shook the tiny infant violently, leaving him with a catalogue of injuries.

Tiny Lewis McGill suffered a broken elbow, wrist, collarbone and ribs at the hands of his dad Liam McGill.

Sheffield Crown Court heard McGill, aged 19, ‘snapped’ as he tried to calm crying baby Lewis in the early hours, shaking him, pulling his arms and legs, and squeezing his chest.

The jealous dad – aged 17 at the time – told Lewis’ mum Hannah Parker he ‘felt a bit left out’ and the baby was ‘getting all the attention’.

He pleaded guilty to child cruelty on the basis he was responsible for the injuries but did not intend them, and was unaware the tot – who was just a few weeks old – had been hurt.

Jailing him, Judge Simon Lawler QC told McGill: “This baby was entitled to look to you for care in his handling as well as protection.

“Everybody knows you do not treat a baby in this harsh way and you must have known and realised the way you treated him was very rough.”

McGill - who now has a second child with another partner - hurt his son on up to eight occasions while the infant was between five and 11 weeks old, the court heard.

The judge said Lewis was a ‘robust little baby’ as his injuries were initially missed by nurses, who said his bloodshot eyes were probably caused by a cough.

Medics also failed to notice his broken bones when he was taken to hospital screaming in a high-pitch, and seeming distressed at being picked up.

Alexander Menary, prosecuting, said the couple hadn’t planned to have a baby as they were both sixth-form students.

“Although both parents were shocked they decided to go ahead,” Mr Menary said.

During his six-week check Miss Parker told a nurse Lewis had bloodshot eyes.

She was told it could have been caused by a cough, but a week later a health visitor referred Lewis to Barnsley Hospital saying the eye complaint might have been a result of shaking.

“He had a high-pitched scream and was clearly distressed when being handled,” Mr Menary said.

Two weeks later a friend noticed Lewis’ left elbow was swollen and wouldn’t bend easily. He was taken to A&E where doctors found the fractures.

When Miss Parker confronted McGill he broke down.

“He admitted he had picked Lewis up roughly and shaken him on several occasions,” Mr Menary said.

Richard Barradell, defending, said McGill had juggled college studies with a part-time job working evenings in a takeaway and had offered to care for Lewis throughout the night.

“We have a physically exhausted 17-year-old, a very immature young man, working as hard as he can and waking up three or four times in the night desperately trying to get his child to go back to sleep,” he said.

“The harder he tried, the less likely it was. Frustration and tiredness welled up inside him to the point he snapped. He was unaware the child was injured.”

McGill, of Neville Avenue, Kendray, Barnsley, had no previous convictions.

Sending him to a young offenders’ institution for 18 months, Judge Lawler said: “This case is so serious only immediate custody is appropriate.”