THE parents of a five-week-old baby who had his arm broken in two places have avoided being jailed — because no-one could prove which one of them had caused the injuries.
Glyn Rostron and Michelle Duffy both pleaded guilty to child cruelty at Bolton Crown Court yesterday for failing to seek immediate medical help for their son Thurston Rostron.
Sentencing them each to five months in prison, suspended for 18 months, the Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Timothy Clayson said he was satisfied one of them had caused the “nasty fracture” to the little boy’s right arm.
He added that the child would have been in pain before he was eventually taken for treatment to the Royal Bolton Hospital.
Judge Clayson told the couple: “One of you had caused that injury and the two of you put your own interests ahead of that of your son.
“That is an attitude which is abhorrent to all right minded people.”
Vanessa Thomson, prosecuting, told the court there were no concerns when Thurston, the couple’s first child, was born on October 23, 2012.
She added: “Both parents seemed to be adapting well to the new baby.“ But just weeks later, at 7pm on December 1 the pair took the five-week-old baby, who they nicknamed TJ, to the accident and emergency department where Duffy told nurses he had not been moving his right arm for a couple of days.
X-rays revealed both bones in his lower arm were broken and doctors concluded the injury could not have happened accidentally.
The couple, of Louisa Street, Halliwell, were arrested and told police that Rostron had been out “wetting the baby’s head” on December 1 at 5.30pm when he got a call from his partner.
She had noticed the baby’s arm was floppy and unable to make a grabbing action.
Both claimed no-one else had been alone with the baby and could not offer any explanation for the injury.
But on December 21, Rostron contacted a social worker and told him he may had caused the baby’s injury two days before seeking medical help after getting up in the night to feed him and kneeling on the child’s arm as he lay on the bed.
Miss Thomson said the account was unlikely to be true after doctors concluded Thurston’s injury had been caused by a direct blow or snapping force up to 10 days before he was taken to hospital.
She told the court: “It would have caused TJ significant distress at the time of the injury.”
Miss Thompson told the court the pain the baby was in afterwards would have been obvious to anyone in contact with him.
Jane Dagnall, defending 32-year-old Duffy, who is of previous good character, said she is now considering sterilisation after Thurston and a second child born last year were taken into care.
She added: “It is punishment that she has no children with her.”
Peter Cunliffe, defending 38-year-old bakery worker Rostron, said he was a hard worker with no previous convictions.
Sentencing the pair, who will also be subject to supervision by the probation service for six months and must each pay £400 prosecution costs and a £100 victim surcharge, Judge Clayson told them: “You will no longer have the pleasure of bringing up not only your young son but also the other child. That is serious punishment indeed.”