Written by Jeff Meyer on 14 Mar 2016
Nothing is as horrible as tragedy befalling a baby. They are, by the very definition, as innocent as they come and have their whole lives ahead of them. Unfortunately for a child in Scotland, his future will be much different because of one man’s actions.
A Brutal Attack Changes One Little Boy’s Life Forever
A court has heard testimony that a baby who was just nine weeks old was repeatedly shaken by a man before being thrown against a wall. While the baby suffered many injuries, the worst were that he will now be blind and damage done has given him cerebral palsy. Those permanent effects will be with him for the rest of his life.
It was back in July of 2013 when Jay Bell, 23, was looking after the little boy. He was tossing him in the air over and over until the baby hit his head on a wall. Then he dropped against a Moses basket before eventually falling to the floor.
At this point, Bell picked the child up and shook him until he started crying. Despite the nature of these actions, in court, it sounded like Bell wasn’t acting with any sense of malice.
Postponing Medical Attention
In any case, it’s what he did next that truly sealed the baby’s fate. Instead of bringing the boy to the hospital right away, Bell, of Midlothian, Scotland, waited a full two weeks before getting him medical attention.
Even then, it would be five months before Bell would tell doctors what truly happened to the baby while he was under his care. The judge in this case stated that immediate medical intervention could have been enough to reduce the long-term damage the child must now live with forever.
Aside from the blindness and cerebral palsy—which is awful enough—the baby also suffered kidney damage, a fractured ankle and rib, and bleeding in his brain.
Again, it may seem like the courts went a bit easy on the Scotsman, given the brutality of what he did and his negligence in withholding medical attention from the child. He was sentenced to just four years for failing to seek medical attention for the baby and reckless conduct towards a child.
Listening to the judge, though, there may have been some details left out of reports about the crime. Judge Paul Arthurson QC said the following in court: “Through your conduct, a nine-week-old child who was in your care sustained bleeding on the brain, retinal hemorrhages and skeletal fractures – namely a fractured rib and a fractured ankle. As a result of the brain injury, the child suffers from cerebral palsy and is registered blind. He cannot sit unaided, he has difficulty in using his limbs.
These medical consequences, all caused as a result of your conduct, are and will continue to be devastating for the child and for his mother who cares for him.”
Speaking directly to Bell, he went on to say, “I accept that while the consequences for the child were truly catastrophic, these were not intended by you. Nevertheless, taking into account your position of care and trust and the extreme vulnerability of the child, the only appropriate disposal for the offenses is a substantial custodial one.”
If anything can be taken from this tragic story, it’s the importance of vetting the people you let look after your child. Even if it’s someone you trust, be careful to keep a keen eye on your child after they’re around a caretaker and look for any signs of abuse or other problems. While these sorts of situations are mercifully rare, that will be little consolation if it ever happens to you.