Manchester dad jailed after scalding daughter, 4, in bath – leaving her needing surgery 29 times

By Glen Keogh

A Manchester father who left his four-year-old daughter with severe burns after he made a ‘catastrophic error’ and placed in her a scalding hot bath was jailed for two years today.

The 45-year-old Oxbridge Masters graduate caused the young girl to suffer 22% burns to her groin, buttocks and lower legs while he was bathing her during an access visit.

Paramedics were called by the father to his house in Northenden to find his young daughter naked and crying in the bedroom.

She spent six months in hospital recovering from her injuries and was given surgery 29 times including skin grafts. She now has restricted mobility and suffers with behavioural problems – lashing out and biting people – and begs not to have a bath.

Today the youngster’s father, a customer services advisor who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, admitted cruelty to a child. He was also banned from working with children or vulnerable adults.

Manchester Crown Court was told the father had split up with the girl’s mother shortly after she was born but was allowed contact every week.

The child had been suffering from a skin condition which led to get getting blisters – often on her feet from walking – and she would be treated with cream.

During visits to her father’s home concerns were raised he was not treating her skin problems – and on one occasion he allegedly ripped scabs away.

Mr Alex Leach prosecuting said: ”She had once returned home from contact with her father saying he had placed her in a bath that was too hot. She does not have a good sensitivity to warm water.

“Her mother was concerned so reported it to social services but there was nothing they could do to intervene.”

The incident occurred in August 2012 when paramedics were called to the man’s house following a 999 call.  He claimed she was in a cold bath and the injuries to her legs were caused when she was removed.

But after she had treatment at Wythenshawe A&E department she was transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital. Mr Leach added: ”Her injuries were dressed and later that night she was taken to the operating theatre for her dressing to be changed.

”Upon changing the dressing doctors agreed with the diagnosis that the burns were consistent with scalding from hot liquid.  The girl had 35 separate changes to her dressing – each under general anaesthetic.”

The girl had 29 surgical interventions between August and November 2012 before being discharged from hospital in February last year.

In a statement, her mother said: “The injuries were devastating on her legs. She had a sprayed skin graft from her groin to the bottom of her calves.

”Because of her dressings and injuries and susceptibility to infections she remained in isolation and the only people who could see her were her mother and brother while she was in hospital.

”She lost out on education and she lost out on social interaction.  She now suffers with behavioural problems with her mother and family. She lashes out and bites and she never used to do that.

”She has a bath every other day but it is traumatic every time. She begs not to be taken to the bath. The injuries to her left calf aren’t healed and she has restricted mobility. She will require ongoing treatment.”

The father who has a degree in geology and a Masters degree from Oxford University later told a doctor he had filled the bath to his daughter’s chin at 15 degrees celsius.

He said he went to get her a glass of water but when he returned he found his daughter had a seizure and was shaking and frothing at the mouth. He gave her the kiss of life and called for an ambulance.

The court heard the father had a previous conviction for battery in September 2000 and a caution for common assault in September 2011.

In mitigation defence counsel Andrew Nuttall said: “He is still utterly bewildered by what took place. He was distressed when the ambulance  came to the house and distressed when he spoke to probation officers.

”This is a man utterly remorseful and distraught by what has happened.  He knows the likelihood that he will see his daughter before she is an adult is nil. That is a sentence in itself. Not being able to see your child growing up is a horrendous sentence.

”The Chinese say the greatest curse of all is to outlive your children. He has made a catastrophic error and he knows that.  We all make errors in life. Those of us who have children have sometimes made errors with baths and showers with our children.”

But passing sentence Judge Michael Leeming said: “You were reckless by leaving her in a bath of very hot water.  No sentence that I impose can diminish the pain she suffered or the anguish felt by her mother and family.

”She sustained the most appalling blisters to the skin following a bath you gave her. She had extensive skin loss to her buttocks and legs. Her skin loss was deep to full thickness down to the fat on her buttocks and legs.

”You are entirely responsible and will have to live with that knowledge – yet you sought to devalue responsibility and continue to deny full responsibility..

“Knowing what you had done and knowing the water was too hot you said the injuries were not burns and took advantage of her condition. You dismissed medical opinion that leaving her in the bath for a minute was neglectful.

“The prognosis is one of permanent scarring and as she grows she will need to be monitored and may need corrective surgery. She was unable to go to nursery or interact with other children. She is also reluctant to interact with male family members.

“You present a high risk of harm to children in your care and a medium risk to women with who you are in a relationship with.”

Story via Cavendish Press.

Picture courtesy of Ian Britton, with thanks.

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