Crying baby left with brain injuries after carer Nicholas O'Rourke 'lost it'
A seven-week old baby girl was left with brain injuries after a man shook her when she continued to cry.
Lincoln Crown Court heard how Nicholas O'Rourke had been allowed to look after the child on his own at his flat in the city.
But Katya Saudek, prosecuting, said that when O'Rourke returned the baby to her mother the child was screaming and in distress.
O'Rourke had earlier told the mum that the baby had rolled out of bed and suffered a cut to her eye.
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Miss Saudek said: "When the baby was returned, her mother immediately noticed bruising to her face and that one of the baby's eyes was closed.
"It was immediately apparent to her it had not been caused by rolling out of bed. The mother tried to feed the baby but the baby vomited.
"She saw there was something clearly wrong and knew she had to get the baby straight to hospital."
An ambulance was called and the baby was taken to Lincoln County Hospital where she was found to have extensive bruising to her face, head, chest and abdomen.
Miss Saudek said: "The baby was unwell and initially doctors described her as having possible life-threatening injuries."
A scan revealed the child had suffered bleeding within the brain and a possible fracture to a bone at the back of the head.
The court was told the baby was ultimately found not to have suffered severe brain damage. However, her injuries may leave her with learning difficulties and other issues although the long-term prognosis is not clear.
O'Rourke was later arrested and, after initially continuing to claim the baby rolled off the bed, later changed his story.
He admitted he "lost it" with the child because she would not stop crying. He said he shook the child three or four times but she then slipped from his grasp and fell onto the concrete floor.
O'Rourke, 20, of Cotman Road, Lincoln, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm as a result of the incident on 23 August 2012. He was sent to a young offenders' institution for 20 months.
Recorder Sam Mainds told him: "You shook the child and dropped her on the floor, all of which is horrendous and disgraceful conduct.
"Many of us who have had the position of bringing up our own children know we rely on our own background and our own upbringing. This defendant had none of that. His mother died when he was 10. He had a totally disjointed and fractured childhood."
The Recorder said the baby's mother could not be criticised for allowing the child to stay with O'Rourke as the baby had stayed with him on previous occasions and returned safely.
Jonathan Straw, defending, said the injuries had been caused as a result of a single episode which occurred when O'Rourke lost control.
He said O'Rourke had a difficult upbringing having lost his mother at a young age.
"It is my submission that this offence was brought on not by malice but by inadequacy. He has led a troubled life."