Mother guilty of child cruelty

A MOTHER who turned a blind eye to the suffering of her seven-week-old son after he was repeatedly assaulted by her boyfriend has been warned that she could be sent to prison.

A MOTHER who turned a blind eye to the suffering of her seven-week-old son after he was repeatedly assaulted by her boyfriend has been warned that she could be sent to prison.

Tiffany Kellingray stood impassively in the dock at Ipswich Crown Court as she was found guilty of cruelty to her young son who suffered 21 fractures to his skull, ribs, arms and legs.

Adjourning the case until next month for a pre-sentence report Judge Peter Thompson warned Kellingray that she had been convicted of a serious offence and said she could go to prison. "Don't be under any illusions," said the judge.

Kellingray, 21, of Lagonda Drive, Ipswich had denied cruelty to her son by wilfully neglecting him in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering. The jury took three-and-a-half hours to find her guilty of the offence after a trial lasting three days.

Earlier this week her boyfriend Richard Crisp, 23, who was the child's father and lived at the same address admitted three offences of cruelty to the child by assaulting him and one offence of neglect. His case was also adjourned for a pre-sentence report.

During the trial the court heard that doctors who examined the baby after he was admitted to hospital discovered 21 fractures including two to his skull which were potentially life threatening.

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The fractures were of varying ages and included an unusual fracture to the shoulder-blade which could have been caused by the baby being yanked out of his cot by one arm.

The court heard that rib fractures were most likely to have been caused by the child's chest being squeezed "extremely severely" on at least three occasions.

The skull fractures were likely to have been the result of the child's head being struck on two separate occasions against a hard flat surface with "quite considerable force".

Medical experts told the court that the fractures would have resulted in severe immediate pain to the child followed by further episodes of pain when he was handled, lasting up to seven days.

Although the child's injuries may not have been immediately apparent to health professionals they would have been obvious to the child's regular carers who would have noticed him becoming distressed when he was handled.

Giving evidence Kellingray described her baby as contented and said she had never heard him scream in pain when he was picked up.

She only became concerned when he was seven weeks old and became grizzly and wasn't feeding properly.

She contacted her doctor who then admitted the child, who has since made a full recovery, to hospital.

Kellingray said if she had suspected earlier there was something wrong with the baby she would have contacted her doctor or taken him to hospital.

She said she had left him about seven or eight times with Crisp but had not noticed anything wrong when she returned.

She denied ever seeing Crisp assault the baby or pick him up in a way that made him cry out.

Commenting after the verdict, the officer who led the investigation DC Debbie Hunt of Ipswich police child protection team, said: "I'm extremely pleased with both parties being convicted. It was a very long investigation.

"The baby had at least 17 fractures to its body including two fractures to the skull and other fractures to the rest of the body."

A spokesman for Suffolk social services confirmed that the baby "was never on the 'at risk' register".

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