Man found guilty of punching five-day-old baby in the face

David Hardy denied assault, claiming he had thought the infant was a doll

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The Independent Online

A man has been found guilty of punching a five-day-old baby girl in the face.

The baby, Elsie Rose, was hit in the face at a Tesco supermarket in Baguley, south of Manchester, on 5 September.

She was in a baby seat in a supermarket trolley next to her older sister when the attack happened.

Her attacker, David Hardy, 64, denied assault and told Salford Magistrates' Court he had thought the baby was a doll.

“I thought I was just going to make the girl laugh. I don’t know why I thought that,” he told the court.

“I thought it was a little girl’s dolly.”

Hardy said he was “wracked with guilt” over the incident and said it was “a stupid instant decision” and that he had intended to “have a joke and a bit of a laugh”.

Elsie was taken directly to hospital and was kept overnight for checks before being discharged the next day. 

She suffered a red mark to the face, but was not seriously harmed.

Hardy was fined £900, ordered to pay £500 in court costs and £100 in compensation, the Manchester Evening News reports. 

District Judge Sam Goozee said he found Hardy’s claim he thought the baby was a doll “implausible”. 

“At the point you struck out you did so with the intention and knowing Elsie was a baby, not a doll.” 

Elsie’s grandfather stormed out of the court after the sentence was read, branding the punishment “a f*****g joke mate”. 

Outside the court the two families were subsequently involved in angry exchanges and security guards were called to break up a tussle. 

The baby’s uncle, Luke Temple, said of Hardy: “He should have got a custodial sentence for him to think about what he did.”