Mother ignored warning signs that partner was abusing her young son, Northampton court hears

The woman was sentenced in Northampton Crown Court yesterday (August 3).
The woman was sentenced in Northampton Crown Court yesterday (August 3).

A Northampton woman who suspected her young son was being beaten by her boyfriend lied to doctors that he fell off a slide, a court heard.

The mother, who cannot be named by law, was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (August 3) after earlier pleading guilty to child cruelty by neglect.

On a trip to the GP in September 2015, doctors raised concerns when the boy presented with a black eye and extensive bruising - but his mother covered for her partner, who, in the days leading up to taking her son to the GP, she suspected was abusing him.

She only took her son to Northampton General Hospital three days later after a friend pleaded with her when more bruises came up.

The boy was taken into care by social services on the same day. GPs later counted 22 bruises on his body and signs of a suspected fracture at the base of his skull. The court heard it was not possible to determine which bruises were accidental and which were not.

His Honour Judge Timothy Smith said: "You have put yourself and your relationship with others over the care of your son.

"He was dependent on you for care, love, affection and protection. You failed to give him the protection he needed."

In preparation for her appearance in court, the woman's associates told social workers how she would shout at her son and "take her stress out" on him in ways "that were upsetting to see".

Social workers also warned the woman about the danger to her son when she began a relationship with a man known for domestic violence.

In September 2015, doctors noted multiple bruises on the boy's chest, arms and face that seemed "non-accidental" - but his mother lied and said he fell off a slide while playing.

In sentencing, Judge Smith said: "You ignored professional advice to protect your child, and as a result, he was exposed to abuse."

The woman was given a 22-week sentence suspended for 18 months. Her son remains in the care of social services, where he could be adopted or taken into long-term foster care.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that there 22 bruises on the boy’s body and a fracture at the base of the skull. This has been amended to state that there were “signs of a suspected fracture at the base of his skull”. It was also stated in court that it was not possible to determine which of the bruises on his body were accidental. We are happy to make the clarification.