Father jailed for hitting his crying month-old baby

Elaine Keogh

A MAN who hit his four-week-old daughter when she wouldn't stop crying has been jailed for four years

THE baby was kept in hospital for four days and treated for bruising and swelling to her head, face and legs.

The accused told gardai he "lost the head" with the infant when she wouldn't stop crying on April 2, 2012.

According to her mother, the infant has recovered physically but screams around all men except her grandfather and uncle.

Judge Leonie Reynolds, presiding over Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court, was told that the accused, who pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to the infant at a location in Louth, was in a relationship with the mother of the baby and that he was minding her while she went shopping.


On the day of the assault, the couple had brought the infant to the GP because she was colicky. That afternoon, while his girlfriend was out, he had given the baby a bottle and she fell asleep.

The accused told gardai that when she woke up, she was "crying, crying, crying." He said he had winded the baby but she wouldn't stop crying and "I didn't know what to do."

The court heard he had put the baby on the sofa because he "couldn't listen to her crying." She seemed to be warm from the crying so he took off her outfit and then, he told gardai: "I don't know what came over me. I lost the head."

He said he slapped her with the tips of his fingers on the left leg and the top of her face and around each side of her head.

Asked how many times he had hit her he said, "probably twice," in each area. He said he had the fingers on his hands separated; there were no fists.

He also told gardai he picked her up after he hit her, said he was sorry and gave her a kiss. However, he said he may have gripped her while lifting her.

When his girlfriend came home, she became worried there was something serious wrong with the baby and took her to Daisyhill Hospital in Newry, Co Down. Doctors became concerned about the injuries they found and the baby was taken into care, the court heard.

In a victim impact report the mum said she was "deeply shocked," when doctors told her her baby had been assaulted and she spent the four days in hospital watching her bruising (bruises appearing), "and knowing the child would be taken off her".


The baby was placed in foster care and not returned to her until April 19. She now leaves the baby with her mother only.

The court heard the father had 17 previous convictions and began abusing cannabis when he was 12. While his girlfriend was pregnant he had been off drink and drugs but fell off the wagon, said defence counsel Donough MacDonough

The court heard he is ashamed of his behaviour. He co-operated with gardai and admitted responsibility for the injuries.

Judge Reynolds said it was "one of the most disturbing" Section 3 cases she has come across and "the consequences could have proven life-threatening or even fatal."

She imposed a four-year jail term.