August 2023

Newborn baby found with rib and leg fractures caused by one of its parents

A five-week old baby was left with a catalogue of non-accidental injuries including 13 fractures to their ribs and three fractures to their legs caused by one or both of their parents which were discovered when the child was taken to hospital.

The baby would have suffered pain for days as a result of the injuries, which were caused on at least two separate occasions.

Sion Davies, 27, and Tegan Dolphin, 22, of Swansea, were convicted of causing or allowing their child to suffer serious injury, following a trial at Swansea Crown Court.

The parents maintained they had no idea how the injuries had been caused to the child, but their account was disbelieved by a jury.

The court was told the baby was born prematurely and spent the first 10 days of its life in a specialist baby unit.

But within weeks of the baby being discharged from hospital, they were brought back to hospital by Dolphin who reported a mark on it’s leg to a midwife.

Upon attending hospital, healthcare professionals noticed a second mark was developing on the baby’s arm and a CT scan was arranged to investigate the injuries.

It was revealed the child had suffered 13 rib fractures and three leg fractures.

Medical evidence suggested the rib fractures had been were at different points of healing.

In his sentencing comments, Judge Geraint Walters said: “It follows the child was presented to hospital doctors having ben subjected to physical force on a least two occasions and resulted in two sets of rib fractures and the fractured leg. It would be expected the child would have cried when the injuries were first caused and would have experienced pain when handled thereafter.

“I am wholly satisfied those injuries were deliberately caused by one, or other, or both of you. One or both of you knew who did did this. It’s hard to imagine a more wicked act than inflicting injuries on a defenceless human being and hard to understand why any parent responsible for them would not have removed that child from harms way. That did not happen, you allowed that child to face physical assault in your home.”

The court was unable to conclusively determine which of the defendants had inflicted the injuries. The trial heard Davies, of Nolton Court, Penlan, and Dolphin, of Gwili Terrace, Mayhill, were both heavy users of cannabis, with Dolphin describing the drug as making her feel “paranoid”.

During his evidence, Davies said Dolphin would “never hurt her child” and she never saw him being “rough” with the child and had “never been violent” to her. Judge Walters said he “found it telling” neither of the defendants had asked each other whether they had caused the injuries to their child.

He also questioned why Dolphin had not mentioned she heard the child make a “piercing scream” until her second police interview.

The judge said: “You told the jury that had just slipped your mind. I find it very difficult to accept that explanation, any mother would have remembered that in the context of injuries being found on their child.”

The court heard Davies had previous convictions for affray, harassment and battery. 

Davies was sentenced to a total of 30 months imprisonment. Dolphin was sentenced to a total 18 months imprisonment.

The identities of the defendants were allowed to be reported after a challenge to a reporting restriction but a restriction under section 45A of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 protects the anonymity of the child victim.