A FATHER who left his four-month-old son with ‘catastrophic’ injuries after he shook him violently has been jailed for nine years.

Benjamin Welsh, 21, then failed to seek medical attention for the baby for 30 hours, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Welsh, of Whittle Grove, Walkden, admitted to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The defendant and the baby’s mother, Elisha Wilson, 21, of Irwell Avenue, Little Hulton, both also pleaded to guilty to child cruelty.

Prosecutors say the couple didn't take the child to hospital for nearly 30 hours despite his injuries. Their relationship was an ‘abusive’ one, with Welsh described as the ‘abuser’.

On August 9 last year Welsh and Wilson took their baby to the Royal Bolton Hospital claiming their child had been unwell and gone ‘floppy’ with Welsh performing CPR on him.

The Bolton News: Manchester Crown CourtManchester Crown Court

But medics noticed the child had multiple bruising, on his knee and ears, with a CT scan also revealing brain injuries and a ruptured liver.

Mark Kellett, prosecuting, said the baby was taken to Manchester Children’s Hospital and the police were called in.

Welsh claimed he had ‘no idea’ how these injuries had occurred, saying it could have been due to CPR. But Wilson’s phone records showed Google searches on August 8 and 9 such as ‘can throwing n shaking a baby cause brain damage’, ‘shaking baby cause them to go floppy and affect eyes’, and ‘what happens when u strangle a baby’.

Mr Kellett told the court Welsh then admitted he had been “struggling to cope with a newborn baby”.

Wilson told police the baby had woken up the previous day crying and Welsh had become angry and started shouting at him to “shut up” before hitting the baby near the hip, grabbing him, and “slamming him to the floor with force” before shaking him.

In this time doctors had concluded that the baby's injuries were not as a result of just CRP but likely indicative of “shaking with significant force”, the court heard.

The Bolton News: Benjamin Welsh, 21Benjamin Welsh, 21

Judge Patrick Field QC told Welsh the baby was "utterly dependent upon his parents" and relied on them to "protect him from harm".

The judge added: “You attacked him because he would not stop crying and you couldn’t cope with that. I have to say that is an inadequate and selfish explanation.”

Judge Field added that Welsh’s shaking of the boy caused “catastrophic brain injury” with “extremely serious consequences”.

He told the court it could not be “ruled out” that the bruising to the baby was caused by Welsh’s CPR.

But the judge ruled this did “not amount to a full explanation”, saying that Welsh had “struck (the baby) as well as shaking him.”

“I must not lose sight of the facts that the most serious injury was to the brain and this was caused by violent shaking,” Judge Field said.

“You realised what you had done and tried to help your son and tried to do CPR. What’s plain however from your guilty plea is that your efforts to help your son went no further than that.

“He was gravely ill after the attack and in need of urgent help. You did nothing more for 30 hours to help your son and when you took him to the hospital you actively tried to mislead the doctors and nurses.

“You were more concerned for yourself than you were for him because you know that your violent outburst caused him serious harm.”

He then told Wilson: “You acknowledge your guilt in failing to seek medical attention and you knew he needed to go to hospital and you failed to act in his interests and you misled doctors.”

The Bolton News: Royal Bolton HospitalRoyal Bolton Hospital

The court heard that the baby will “never be able to live a normal life” due to his injuries, and may have a reduced life expectancy.

Their failure to seek medical attention was described as “deliberate” and “wilful” by the judge which “significantly increased the risk of death and undoubtedly caused pain and stress for the child”.

Welsh was said to be a “young and immature” 20-year-old man at the time of the incident, who suffered from mental health difficulties.

“It is plain as a new father you had limited support because of the lockdown and you were under stress but this does not excuse what you did,” Judge Field added.

“(The baby) is not in any way responsible for your upset.”

Judge Field sentenced Wilson, currently pregnant with a second child, to a 22-month suspended jail sentence and noted she had been in an abusive relationship.

He told her: "You have demonstrated remorse with your guilty plea and gave significant assistance to the prosecution.”

The judge described this as “strong personal mitigation in your (Wilson) case”.

Judge Field concluded by “paying tribute to the medical and non-medical staff who are responsible for the care of this gravely injured boy”.

A statement by a spokesman for the baby’s current carers, read out at a previous hearing, described his current condition: “We are all worried about what the future holds.

"He will require a high level of continuous care throughout his life.”

“It is not yet known how his vision, and hearing will develop, or whether he will be able to smell or taste. It is expected that he will require a peg tube for feeding.

“This wonderful little boy, who amazes us all every day, will tragically never live a life that is anywhere near what we can consider normal. He will require a high level of continuous care throughout his life."