Father found guilty of causing serious injuries to baby by forcing bottle into his mouth

A baby suffered serious injuries when his frustrated father forced a bottle into his mouth while trying to settle and feed him, a family court judge has decided.

The boy was left with a fractured thighbone and torn frenulum, the piece of skin between the lip and the gum, Judge Joanna Vincent heard.

She concluded that “rough handling” caused the fracture and decided that the frenulum had torn when the man pushed or forced a bottle in.

The judge said she did not think that the man had hurt his son on purpose.

Detail of the case has emerged in a written ruling published by the judge following a private family court hearing in Oxford.

Judge Vincent said the boy, who was 10 weeks old when hurt, could not be identified.

Social services bosses at Oxfordshire County Council had responsibility for his welfare.

They had asked the judge to make findings about the cause of the baby’s injuries to help them make decisions about his future.

“On a balance of probabilities I find that the father found himself in a position where he could not settle (the baby), that this caused him to feel frustrated, panicked and out of control, such that he handled Y in an excessive and rough manner, far beyond that used in normal childcare, thereby causing him to sustain a fracture,” said Judge Vincent.

“I am satisfied on a balance of probabilities that (the torn frenulum) was sustained by the father’s rough handling of (the baby), beyond what would be used in normal childcare, and his pushing or forcing the bottle into his mouth to try to get him to feed.

“The force cannot be measured but exceeds normal care for an infant. I would accept that there was very little blood, and the injury healed relatively quickly; but nonetheless this was a significant injury, prevented (him) from feeding properly and would have undoubtedly caused him additional pain and distress.”

Judge Vincent said evidence showed a “picture of panicked loss of control”.

She said the man became “so focused” on getting his son to “take the bottle” that he “lost sight” of the risk of causing harm.

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