Man gets three years for attack on crying baby

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The Independent Online
AN 18-stone man who lost his temper and hurled a three-month-old baby against a wall to stop it crying was jailed for three years yesterday.

Snaresbrook Crown Court in north-east London was told that the little boy, who was also punched, suffered appalling injuries. He was blinded in one eye and suffered partial brain paralysis.

Jailing Alan Sherritt, 29, Judge Andrew Brooks told him that the injury he inflicted on a 'very little child . . . was, to say the least, horrific'. It was only because of expert medical care that the baby recovered as much as he had.

The judge went on: 'Assaults on young children are an extremely prevalent offence these days and those who commit them and others who are contemplating such offences must be told in clear language that if they do . . . they will be sent to prison for a long time. It is my clear duty to protect children of that age, and indeed the public at large, from behaviour such as this.'

Sherritt, a car worker, from Barking, east London, who will have to serve his sentence segregated from other prisoners for his own safety, was found guilty last month of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Stephen Kramer, for the prosecution, told the jury during the three-day trial that the child's mother left her son in Sherritt's care at her home in Dagenham, east London, while she visited a friend last April.

While she was away Sherritt, who has a long criminal record, became so enraged at the baby's crying 'that he shook, punched and threw him so that his head hit a wall'. When the mother returned he claimed the injuries were caused by another youngster in the house throwing a boot at her son's head.

The jury, which took just over an hour to find Sherritt guilty, heard the injuries were 'consistent with the child's head having been struck against a hard object by an adult'. Sherritt, who did not give evidence, admitted what he had done to a friend - but continued to insist to others that he was innocent.