Man hurt baby in jealous rage

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM A man in a fit of jealousy squeezed his partner's baby so hard he broke a rib and caused the child to stop breathing so it was like a "floppy rag doll", a court heard yesterday.

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM

A man in a fit of jealousy squeezed his partner's baby so hard he broke a rib and caused the child to stop breathing so it was like a "floppy rag doll", a court heard yesterday.

Matthew Chapman, 29, did not own up to what he had done when his partner came back into the room at the flat they shared at the time in Sheringham but instead carried on changing the child's nappy, Norwich Crown Court heard.

But when he later picked the baby up his partner could see there was something wrong with her son as he was like "a floppy rag doll and not breathing".

Jonathan Morgans, prosecuting, said that Chapman, who said he was trained in first aid, managed to get the baby breathing again and they then took the child to Cromer hospital and he was later taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where doctors concluded the injury was "non accidental".

Mr Morgans said that at first Chapman lied about what happened claiming the child, who was only a few months old, had choked on a biscuit and then changed his story saying he had fallen while holding the baby.

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However, he later confessed to his partner's mother that he was jealous of the baby and admitted that he had squeezed the baby "until his face turned grey and his eyes were popping out".

Mr Morgans said Chapman then went to the police and confessed what he had done. He told officers he was jealous of the baby getting all the attention and said "I was tired and it was grizzling."

Chapman admitted causing grievous bodily harm to the baby on May 27 last year.

Jailing him for 21 months, Judge Paul Downes told him that though the baby was not his he had in effect been acting like a father to the child and should have ensured it was protected.

He added: "You were responsible and you failed to protect that baby."

As well as jailing Chapman, the judge imposed a lifetime ban on him ever working with children.

Simon Gladwell, mitigating, said that he had lost his control. He said he had been in about £45,000 of debt and was working long hours as a freight train driver.

"He was jealous of the child because it was not his child. However, he did very much care for it. He may well have been jealous because of the time his partner spent with the child."