An angry mother has hit out after her baby’s father was allowed to walk free from court despite fracturing their son’s skull when he was just 11 weeks old.
There were angry scenes in court as Steven Pickering, 32, escaped a jail term for launching an attack on tiny Logan that ‘could have killed him’.
Now, Logan’s mum Sinead Nield, 22, has told how Pickering robbed her of a year of her baby’s life as he was taken into care as police investigated who was responsible for Logan’s injuries because Pickering would not admit what he had done.
A court has heard Pickering ‘momentarily lost control’ and gripped, shook and threw down Logan, who will be three next month, on January 16, 2010.
Pickering has now admitted assault causing grievous bodily harm.
Judge Jonathan Rose, sitting at Bradford Crown Court, imposed a 12-month sentence suspended for two years, saying the only thing that kept Pickering out of jail was his low intelligence.
Martin Nield, Sinead’s uncle, shouted: ‘It’s a disgrace. You’ve let him walk the streets of Huddersfield. He has got away with hurting Logan.’
After the case, Sinead said: ‘He almost killed his own son and should have been locked up.
‘I feel disappointed and let down by the system that it has taken since 2010 for this to come to court. But even now Steven hasn’t said how the injuries were caused.’
Denise Breen-Lawton, prosecuting, told the court Pickering, who had a daughter by a previous relationship, did not work and was described as ‘lazy’ at home, doing little to look after Logan.
Sinead was taking a hairdressing course at Huddersfield Technical College and on January 16 left Pickering to look after Logan on his own.
At first medics suspected meningitis but investigations subsequently found that Logan had suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.
A doctor later said Logan had been subjected to ‘significant forces’. It was likely the baby had been ‘held, shaken and thrown down.’
Pickering denied hurting his son but admitted to being ‘a bit heavy-handed or rough’ but no-one had shown him how to handle a baby.
A ‘findings of fact’ hearing in June 2010 decided that Pickering had caused the injuries.
Gillian Batts, for Pickering, presented a psychological report which described Pickering as ‘less intellectually able than 99 percent of his peers.’
Miss Batts said: ‘The defendant’s limited capabilities meant he was not able to deal with Logan when he had one of his more difficult periods.
‘Logan suffered with colic and I am sure those with children understand how difficult colic is.
‘The defendant should really never have been left alone with the child.
‘The defendant had a momentary loss of temper and caused the injuries.’
Sentencing, Judge Rose said: ‘A child is precious and needs to be protected and handled gently and carefully.
‘They do not always do what we want. They often make noises and messes that we don’t want them to.
‘You did something very bad to him when he was only a few weeks old.
‘You hurt him, you shook him and threw him down and broke his skull.
‘It’s an injury that could hurt him for a very long time. It could have killed him.’
Pickering was also given a two-year supervision order and told he could never work with children.
Sinead told after the case how she left Logan with Pickering while she returned to college for one day a week.
She was called out of an exam to news that Logan had been rushed to hospital.
She said: ‘I have never felt so scared in all my life. I thought he was going to die.’
Pickering insisted he knew nothing of Logan’s injuries but a specialist decided it was ‘non-accidental’, meaning Sinead was only allowed supervised access to her son.
‘I was confused, angry and just wanted to hold my poorly baby,’ she said.
‘We were asked how the injuries happened and were given the opportunity to admit to anything. I was devastated that anyone could have hurt my baby.
‘Had Steven confessed at the very beginning my baby would have been returned to me.’
She said: ‘Leaving my baby was the hardest thing and our bond was destroyed.
‘It was obvious he saw his foster mum and dad as his real parents and I was devastated. I missed so many of his milestones and I can never get that back.
‘I was 10 years younger than Steven and never suspected he had learning difficulties, yes I knew he had problems with reading and writing but never in a million years would I have suspected he had such a low IQ.
‘He was a popular lad, he liked to go out and have a laugh. There was no way I’d have left Logan in his care if I had suspected such a thing. He’d never been violent towards me.
‘Now I hate him and I am appalled that he is allowed to go unpunished for what he did to his own child.’
It is hoped Logan, who has started nursery, will suffer no lasting effects.