Teen dad broke baby's limbs 'in blind anger'

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2012

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The teenage father of a 4-month-old girl has told police he broke her legs in five places because he was angry and "had stuff bottled up inside him".

The girl was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital in March last year with swelling to her left thigh. A full examination revealed that her left femur was fractured. It also showed her right femur was fractured in three places, and there was an older fracture to her left tibia.

She had bruising on her upper pelvic area and to her left leg, and a possible fracture to her right upper arm.

The injuries were considered non-accidental and the father, who lived with his daughter and partner, was interviewed by police that evening.

The 19-year-old Napier man, whose name is suppressed, has pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to injure and a representative charge of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard for the safety of a child.

According to the summary of facts, he admitted causing harm to his daughter and said he had been alone at home with her and had "grabbed her left foot, pushed it back up so it was bending her whole left leg up behind the baby's back".

He said he knew what he was doing was wrong but he just wasn't thinking.

"He stated that once or twice he meant to hurt her by bending her leg back in blind anger – not realising what he was actually doing," the summary said.

The man told the police officer that he was "generally being a bit rough and not being careful enough with her".

He said he would hold her against his chest and pull her quite firmly "enough to give her a fright and make her start crying". "He would then comfort her to calm her down. He has done this three or four times over the four months."

He described his anger and carelessness to the officer and said he would later wonder "what the hell have I done?".

"He explained that he had stuff bottled up inside him and that he can't control himself. He explained that he knew he had to stop doing this and needed to get help, " the summary said.

The man said he would get up at night and be rough with the girl and said the bruising could be from squeezing her too tightly.

"He explained he was being careless because he was not bonding with her. The baby would start crying with him but be fine with his partner."

The man entered guilty pleas in the High Court at Napier on May 2. He was remanded on bail to be sentenced on June 11.

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- The Dominion Post

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