Man jailed for attempting to murder baby

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The Independent Online

A man was jailed for 12 years today for the "unspeakable" crime of attempting to murder a six-week-old baby he was supposed to have been looking after.

Raymond McPhee, 24, was tired and hungover when he attacked the boy, who has been left with permanent brain damage.

The baby's mother was on her first night out since giving birth when McPhee, of Moir Crescent, Aberdeen, became frustrated by the child's cries and repeatedly pinched and shook him, and forced something, thought to be a bottle, into his mouth.

McPhee denied the attack, claiming the injuries stemmed from a freak accident in which the boy fell.

But a jury at the High Court in Livingston found him guilty of attempting to murder the child and failing to get him medical treatment between August 24 and 25 2008 at a property in Aberdeen.

McPhee was jailed for 10 and two years respectively at the High Court in Edinburgh today.

A sentencing statement from Judge Lord Uist said: "The crime of attempted murder of which you were convicted is really an unspeakable one.

"You were left in charge of the baby, who suffered from colic and cried excessively in the evenings, and, because you were tired and hungover from a drinking bout throughout the previous night, you lost your temper and attacked him in the manner set out in the terms of the conviction.

"This was a grossly selfish and wholly insensitive act on your part."

The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken to hospital by his mother the next morning after she found him "floppy" and realised something was wrong.

He was found to have suffered serious brain damage, which will leave him severely disabled and will "blight his life forever", Lord Uist said.

Jurors in the case were excluded from any future jury service for life.

He told McPhee: "You have shown no remorse whatsoever and have sought to minimise, both in your evidence and to the social worker, the injuries which the child suffered.

"It is clear that the only reason your violence did not cost the baby his life is that he eventually received excellent medical care from the doctors who treated him, in both Aberdeen and Edinburgh, after he was taken to hospital by his mother."

Police who investigated the attack said it was a particularly difficult case as there were no witnesses.

Detective Inspector Richie Guild, of Grampian Police, described the crime itself as "shocking".

Speaking after the conviction on July 9, Anne Currie, the area procurator fiscal for Grampian, said: "Raymond McPhee's actions showed such wicked recklessness towards the child that a charge of attempted murder was appropriate, a view clearly reflected in the jury's verdict."