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Home   Herne Bay   News   Article

Baby batterer dad John Davis of Herne Bay jailed for eight years after leaving son with life-changing injuries

07 August 2014
by Paul Hooper

Baby batterer John Davis has been jailed for eight years after leaving his 21-day-old son with injuries that could last a lifetime.

The defenceless baby needed his skull reconstructed after suffering severe head injuries, five broken ribs, bleeding to his brain and a broken collarbone at the hands of the vile thug.

He was rushed to hospital and twice stopped breathing on the way, with paramedics having to bring the tot back to life.

John Davis, jailed for eight years for attacking his baby

John Davis, jailed for eight years for attacking his baby

But despite admitting grievous bodily harm, Davis, 30, has refused to reveal how the injuries were caused – at first claiming he dropped the baby and later saying he blacked out.

The brute was jailed two years after narrowly avoiding prison for dangling another child from a balcony in Herne Bay.

But the little boy’s mum, who now lives near Canterbury, has told a judge: “In a period of time Davis will be released and he will go back to his life.

“But my baby will be a victim of what he did, not just for a few years, but for the rest of his life.”

Family members from both sides packed the public galleries at Canterbury Crown Court to hear the heart-wrenching details of the injuries caused to the three-week-old child, who now suffers from cerebral palsy.

Prosecutor Paul Raudnitz said that the night before the incident in March last year, Davis, of Sea Street, Herne Bay, and two pals had binged on vodka to celebrate the birth of the child.

He said: “The case for the Crown is that on March 12 John Davis assaulted his three-week-old son and caused him serious and life-threatening injuries, including fractures to his skull, his collar bone and to his ribs.

“The victim suffers ongoing consequences to this day and the extent to which those injuries are likely to be either longer-lasting or indeed permanent remains to be seen.”

Because Davis refused to own up, the child’s mother was initially arrested after the incident and was expecting to give evidence at his trial.

But earlier this year Davis changed his plea to guilty – and gave two accounts of how the injuries were caused.

Initially he told police he had dropped the baby after going to feed him but later claimed he suffered a blackout and had no idea how the injuries had been caused.

Judge Heather Norton passed sentence

Judge Heather Norton passed sentence

Mr Raudnitz said Davis’s boozing habits had been a cause of arguments between the couple.

Davis claimed he had quit drinking and taking drugs in the weeks before the tragedy.

However, in March the couple had decided to celebrate the birth and invited two other people to a party when nearly three bottles of vodka were consumed and they played a drinking game. The baby’s mum only drank a little, he said.

In the morning the mother was about to give the child his early morning feed when Davis volunteered to do it.

Mr Raudnitz said: “He took the baby downstairs and very regrettably that was the last time the mother saw her child fit and well.

“She had remained in bed and heard her baby crying what she thought was a normal hungry cry and she went back to sleep.

“The first time she realised that something was wrong was when she heard the defendant crying – although from the bed she was unable to see him standing at the top of the stairs.

“Davis appeared to be hysterical, holding the baby to his chest and repeating ‘I’ve dropped him. I’ve dropped him’.”

The prosecutor said Davis then ran into the bedroom claiming he had dropped the baby when trying to find a dummy for him and the baby ‘had fallen out of his arms’.

Mr Raudnitz said by now the baby had turned blue and the mother kept shouting for Davis to get a phone and 999 was called.

Twice while on his way to the QEQM Hospital the baby stopped breathing – once for between 10 and 15 seconds – and had to be revived by paramedics.

The baby boy was later transferred to Kings College Hospital in London and an X-ray revealed five rib fractures and a broken collarbone.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

The victim’s injuries were examined by consultant paediatric radiologist Dr Stephen Chapman, an expert in non-accidental injuries.

He concluded that the head fracture – which included bleeding both within and outside the brain – would have required a greater level of force than normal in domestic incidents.
 
The expert added that he had only ever seen such fractures “in road traffic accidents or non-accidental injuries and said they were quite out of keeping with an accidental domestic fall”.
 
In a victim impact statement, the baby’s mother told the court: “In March I believed that I had a near-perfect life, but the consequences of what happened afterwards have changed all that.
 
“The ongoing impact on my baby’s life and my life have been made worse because Davis refused to accept from the start what he had done.
 
“I no longer trust anyone around my child.”
 
She also revealed she feels she is “constantly being judged as being responsible for the injuries”.
 
Judge Heather Norton said: “It is difficult for anyone to understand how an adult can cause injuries and treat a tiny vulnerable baby in the way that you did. 
 “It is difficult for anyone to understand how an adult can cause injuries and treat a tiny vulnerable baby in the way that you did" - Judge Heather Norton
 
“I have received statements and a letter from you which speak of how good you are with children and how people trust you with children.
 
“How that side of your personality can be reconciled with what you did is very hard to understand. It does seem that there are two sides of you.
 
“Nevertheless, this was an extremely serious offence.
 
“Although having development problems, it is not possible to say what the final outcome will be for the baby. But he appears to be moving in the right direction and that is extremely encouraging.
 
The baby has had two major operations, which he says has caused the boy to suffer from cerebral palsy.
 
In February 2012 Davis was convicted of child cruelty after dangling a young girl from a first-floor balcony.
 
The horrifying incident was reported to police by a passer-by, but Davis resisted arrest and fought with officers.
 
Davis denied child cruelty but was convicted after a trial. He admitted resisting arrest.
 
He was sentenced to six months in prison but the term was suspended for two years.
 

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