Rugby star cleared

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The rugby league international Steve McCurrie was cleared yesterday of inflicting grievous bodily harm on a three-month-old baby girl.

The prosecution at Warrington Crown Court had alleged that the Great Britain star and former Widnes skipper shook the baby violently to try to stop her crying while her mother was at work.

The baby stopped breathing and had to be revived by an off-duty police officer. She subsequently stopped breathing on seven further occasions during a 10-minute ambulance journey to hospital. She suffered bleeding behind both eyes and a brain haemorrhage - injuries which doctors claimed must have been caused by violent shaking.

McCurrie, 23, of Bedford, but formerly of Widnes, had denied the offence.

The player, who is in the Bedford rugby union side, admitted shaking the baby to try to stop her crying but said he had only done so gently.As he left the dock, McCurrie was embraced by his wife, Sarah.