An Aberdeen man left a baby with a “life-threatening” skull fracture after falling asleep and dropping the child – twice.
Connor Walker, 23, dropped the child, who was just weeks old, on two separate occasions earlier this year at an address in Aberdeen.
On the second occasion the infant sustained a skull fracture which was described as “life-threatening”.
Walker initially denied dropping the child on the second occasion but was forced to come clean when swelling was spotted and the infant was taken to hospital.
Fiscal depute Colin Neilson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the first incident occurred when a witness heard the child “screaming in distress” and found Walker sleeping on the sofa with the baby at his feet on the floor, partially on top of a cushion.
The witness checked the baby, who “did not appear to be injured”, however no medical advice or assistance was sought. The incident was not disclosed to anybody else at that time.
In the days following the incident the child “showed no signs of any injury or suffering”.
Just over a week later the witness again heard the baby “screaming in distress” and found Walker trying to comfort the infant.
Walker was asked if he had dropped the baby again but said he had not.
Mr Neilson said the witness was “convinced” the baby had been dropped again as the way the baby was screaming “was similar to the way” in which the child had screamed after being dropped previously.
Walker “continually denied” dropping the child but “refused” to swear to the witness he had not done so.
The witness checked the baby over “for any injury but found none”.
The following morning Walker asked the witness if she thought the baby’s head “looked unusual”.
Swelling was spotted to the upper right side of the scalp.
Later that day a medical professional attended and observed the swelling. An emergency appointment with a doctor was arranged and the baby was transferred to Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.
The court heard a CT scan was carried out that showed the appearance of an impact injury on the right side of the head with blood swelling overlying a skull fracture.
Mr Neilson said: “The injury was deemed to be inconsistent with the first incident due to the absence of any healing to the fracture that would be expected to be present after the passage of time.
“It was however deemed to fit clinically with the second incident.”
The fiscal added that the baby suffered “an acute fracture” to the skull that “fitted clinically” with the second incident of being dropped on the ground.
He said: “It was a life-threatening injury. There is no evidence of permanent impairment.”
Walker pled guilty to wilfully neglecting a child, in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health, by falling asleep and causing the baby to fall to the ground and failing to secure timeous medical treatment, to severe injury and danger of life.
Defence agent Gail Wiggins told the court her client is a “first offender” and described him as “looking like a rabbit in the headlights”.
She said: “On the second occasion there was no cushion on the floor and the baby obviously suffered a very significant injury.
“He was so scared to say anything about what had happened on that occasion. Of course what he should have done is immediately seek medical help and he accepts he did not do that and did not disclose what had happened.
“It’s a matter this young man is going to have to live with for the rest of his life.”
Sheriff William Summers told Walker, of Park Street, Aberdeen, it was a “distressing case” and that he had been “grossly negligent”.
He ordered him to be supervised for 18 months and to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.