A dad broke his newborn baby's bones and left her with brain damage – then blamed the child's mum.
The Merseyside man, who cannot be named for legal reasons to protect his victim's identity, fractured her ribs and collarbone.
The tiny girl also suffered bleeding on the brain, but all the man did was give her Calpol, in an effort to cover up his sick abuse.
He then "strung along" the authorities for a year and a half – putting her mum through "hell" by suggesting she might be responsible.
The innocent woman, along with her parents, attended Liverpool Crown Court today to see her cowardly ex-partner sentenced.
But the baby's grandad exploded in anger when a judge said the dad would be released from prison in two years' time.
The court heard the baby was around a month old and even more vulnerable because she was born a month prematurely.
Robert Povall, prosecuting, said the child was taken to Alder Hey Children's Hospital after her mum saw she was bleeding from the mouth.
The baby was examined by doctors in the early hours of the morning, who discovered she had a torn frenulum – the soft tissue that runs in a thin line between the lips and gums – bruises to her right cheek and scabs around her nose.
Medics sought answers from the parents and were unsatisfied with their explanation, so Careline Child Services were notified and a social worker requested.
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A CT scan and skeletal survey revealed brain damage and bleeding on the brain, a head injury, five broken ribs, a broken left collarbone and torn frenulum.
Experts said the broken collarbone was the result of either a blow, impact, bending or snapping action, and the brain injuries were consistent with shaking.
Police and the council launched a joint investigation, with the local authority initiating care proceedings, which eventually resulted in a family court hearing.
The dad denied any wrongdoing in two police interviews, but at the hearing a judge found he was responsible for the injuries, which resulted in criminal charges.
He admitted one count of child neglect, four counts of inflicting grievous bodily harm, and two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm, relating to incidents over a number of days.
In a pre-sentence report, the dad finally admitted shaking and squeezing the baby, injuring her mouth by forcing a dummy into it, and giving her Calpol to try and conceal his crimes.
Mr Povall said: "He admitted he had lied throughout and concealed what had happened."
The prosecutor said until then "it was his case he didn't know who had caused it and it may very well have been the mother".
He said: "In the pre-sentence report he says he covered it up because he was worried what might happen."
Mr Povall said multiple authorities were "strung along" by the dad's lies, he showed a deliberate disregard for the welfare of his child, failed to seek medical help and blamed others.
In a victim statement, the mum said she was "absolutely devastated" and felt the injuries would potentially have long lasting effects on her daughter, but a neurosurgeon said this will not be known until the child is four, when her brain can be properly assessed.
Mr Povall said: "She describes the birth of her daughter as a dream come true."
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However, he added: "I don't think it's unfair to say the mother has been put through hell and back during this time, when it was still very much up in the air whether she caused the injuries. She says she still doesn't know what happened to her daughter."
The mum said she lost "precious time" with her baby during care proceedings and added: "He was my partner, he was my daughter's father, and he should have been there to protect her and keep her safe, and he didn't."
Mr Povall added: "She feels her daughter has lost her father and this will have a long lasting effect on her."
He said the mum also worried how it would affect the child, if she later discovers what her dad did.
Michael O'Brien, defending, said: "Through me he does not wish to upset anybody any more than they already are, but he does want me to say how sorry he is for his actions, not only to his daughter, but to her mother.
"He's genuinely sorry for the pain and suffering he's caused, he bitterly regrets what he's done, not just for the actions to his daughter, but for the delay in making his admissions."
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The lawyer added: "He knows he's failed as a father, he knows he's failed as a partner, and through me he says he's utterly ashamed of himself."
Mr O'Brien said his client, who had no previous convictions, was "extremely low" at the time and had difficulty coping, but didn't deserve or want sympathy.
He said: "Essentially he's lost everything that he held so dear in the past, he's lost his daughter, he's lost his partner, he's lost his parents who no longer speak with him, he's lost his employment and probably unsurprisingly, his mental health has deteriorated, to the extent that he had suicidal thoughts."
Mr O'Brien said the man "wishes one day after rehabilitation to try if he possibly can to be the father he wasn't", which prompted the girl's grandad to snort in derision.
Judge Stuart Driver, QC, made indefinite restraining orders preventing the dad from contacting his daughter or partner.
He said the dad subjected his daughter to "multiple incidents of serious cruelty" when she was "a few weeks old".
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Judge Driver said: "You deliberately covered up your offences and denied them, lying to the police in interviews… maintaining your claims of innocence throughout the family court proceedings, until after the judge had recorded a finding of fact that you were responsible.
"Inevitably all of that threw suspicion upon and added to the trauma of the entirely innocent young woman who was the baby's mother."
Judge Driver said guidelines indicated a sentencing range of four to eight years and the man would receive one third credit for his guilty pleas.
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The dad showed no emotion as he was jailed for four years, but the baby's grandad shouted: "He will be home soon!"
He stood up in the public gallery and yelled "you f***ing rat" at the dad, then shouted: "Two years! He will be out in two years.
"Is he messing? Two f***ing years, he's going to be out."