June 2022

Lanarkshire fiend who left two-month-old baby badly brain damaged is jailed

A Lanarkshire man who left a two month-old baby boy badly brain damaged has been jailed for seven years.

Neil Kirton, 29, hurt the tiny infant – and then suggested a toddler could have caused his appalling injuries.

The child was rushed to hospital on July 6, 2020, looking pale and having not taken his feed.

Medics concluded the youngster’s injuries were “consistent with shaking and/or strangulation”.

Kirton was today sentenced by judge Lord Arthurson at the High Court in Paisley.

He had pled in March at a hearing in Glasgow to assaulting the baby to his severe injury, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life.

The crime occurred at Kirton’s home in Airdrie.

The boy’s mum had moved in with Kirton along with her children days before the incident

On the morning of the attack, Kirton got up to give the baby a night feed.

But, within an hour, he woke the child’s mum to ask if the boy was “alright”.

Mr Fyffe said: “The assault took place at some point after Kirton removed the baby from his Moses basket.”

Unaware of the horror, the mum thought her son may just be “sleepy” and Kirton put the child back in the Moses basket.

Around 7am, Kirkton then took the mum and son to another woman’s house on his way to work as a labourer.

It was there the alarm was raised as the ill baby was cold, pale and still not feeding.

The mum initially contacted her GP, who was so concerned he ordered the baby to be taken to Wishaw General Hospital.

The boy went on to suffer a number of seizures.

Mr Fyffe said an “abusive head injury” was suspected due to a life-threatening brain bleed.

The baby was also found to have several suspicious “pin-prick bruising” at his neck area.

Mr Fyffe added: “A devastating lack of oxygen to the brain can be caused if the neck is injured, squeezed or there is strangulation by forceful handling.”

The court was told Kirton has not given an explanation as to how the injuries occurred and is apparently “unable to fully recall what happened”.

However, he made a series of claims to police shortly after the incident.

Mr Fyffe told how this included him alleging: “He said he did not know any reason as to why (the baby) would have a bleed on the brain.

“He said that he ‘could only suggest (a child aged under two) being a bit rough with the boy in cuddling him’.”

Kirton also stated he could have been “heavy handed” as he was not used to “being around a young baby”.

In another statement, he remarked hearing a “hard knock” after putting the child onto his changing mat.

Kirkton added: “This is all my fault. It has been on my watch.”

Kirton was also said to have told his boss the boy had been restless during the night, but thought it was because he had turned the heating off.

The court was told the boy has a weakness on his left side and it remains unknown how “significant” that will be.

However, signs that the boy will be able to live a “normal life” in the future fortunately remain “positive”.