A ‘loving and mild-mannered’ father from Northampton refused to admit for months that he shook his baby son in a ‘blind panic’ - putting the child’s unsuspecting mother ‘through hell’, a court heard.
Giving evidence at Northampton Family Court the man, who is from the Northampton area but cannot be identified, admitted shaking his nine-week old son after he began coughing and spluttering following a feed.
The following day the baby had to be rushed to hospital and was later found to have suffered bleeding to his brain and in his eyes.
Despite admitting he had ‘jiggled’ the baby on his knee and being concerned he may have caused him harm, the father left the mother, police and social workers in the dark as to what really happened - out of ‘fear’ he would lose his family.
He finally revealed the truth for the first time while at court after a medical expert said the injuries were consistent with shaking - leaving the mother ‘shocked, angry and upset’.
In the witness box at the family court, the father said: “The police interview was not entirely true and there was more to be told.
“I couldn’t face having hurt my baby. I haven’t been brave enough.”
He said he had been afraid to tell the truth as the mother would have been angry with him and he was scared of ‘losing everything he loved’ and of people thinking he was a monster.
Making findings against the father, the judge said the force used was ‘not compatible with normal behaviour’ and that he should have realised that what he did amounted to a ‘significant and traumatic event’ - despite his panic.
He said the father had ‘clung unrealistically’ to the possibility there was another medical explanation for his son’s injuries - causing the mother ‘untold anxiety’ and delaying the case.
However, the judge said that the father, who was described as ‘calm, patient and mild-mannered’, had always had a good relationship with the baby and had acted out of fear.
The judge’s findings of fact will form the basis of any future care proceedings.
The baby is now “fit, well and thriving” and appears to have suffered no lasting damage, the court heard.