Stuff that matters

Ryan Briody, 34, and Rebecca Stott, 29, were arrested after the three-month-old youngster was admitted to hospital with a life-threatening bleed on the brain in 2018

A couple who refused to say who beat up a baby in their care after have been jailed – after a jury concluded both must have done it.

Ryan Briody, 34, and Rebecca Stott, 29, were arrested after the three-month-old youngster was admitted to hospital with a life-threatening bleed on the brain.

Tests revealed the baby – who was being cared for by the pair – also suffered fractured ribs, some of which were at least 10 days old.

But when quizzed Briody and Stott tried to wriggle out of blame by each denying wrongdoing.

They refused to say what happened to the baby but accepted one of them “must have lost their composure” and attacked the child.

At Minshull Street crown court, the pair were each locked up for 27 months after both were convicted of causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm.

The baby, now aged three, is being cared for by relatives.

The investigation began on August 30, 2018 after the baby was taken by Stott to A&E at the Royal Oldham Hospital fighting for life before being moved to to the resuscitation unit.

Prosecutor Harriet Lavin said: “Scans showed that he suffered a subdural haemorrhage. He needed three ventricular taps. Two taps were needed on 30 Aug and a further tap was inserted the following day, which was needed for seven days after.

“He suffered a bleed on the brain, deprivation of oxygen to the brain and fractured ribs, some of which were at least 10 days old. There was also found to be a subdural bleed and at least one earlier episode of a haemorrhage.

“Experts concludes the baby suffered these injuries as a result of a shaking mechanism on at least two occasions, once shortly before his admission to hospital and the other at least two weeks earlier. The injuries were proved to be caused by these two defendants as they had care and either caused or allowed these injuries to be caused.

“They were arrested on August 31 2018 but denied the offence in interview. Mobile phone messages were recovered from WhatsApp from the morning the child was admitted to hospital. It seemed Rebecca was concerned about the baby’s condition and sent photos to Ryan Briody at 10am.

“In terms of the expert report, the boy is exhibiting behaviours of rocking back and forth and side to side. He has developmental delay and mild communication and motor delay and there is a likelihood of risk of epilepsy. The doctor said he is showing autism traits but they are unable to say if it was because of the injury because he is of such a young age.

“There were multiple incidents of severe cruelty which led to serious harm.”

Briody, of Oldham, and Stott, of Chadderton, had no previous convictions, the court heard.

Briody’s lawyer Neil Baki said in mitigation: “This child suffered a traumatic head injury but the long term prospects are unknown.

“This has been a traumatic few years for everyone concerned. Someone for whatever reason has lost their composure and they have taken it out on this young child. What will a custodial sentence serve?

“It will punish these defendants in this case but they have been through some mental anguish of their own over the last few years although of course it is at their own hands. Their lives will never be the same again.”

But sentencing Judge Maurice Greene said: “This child had a number of injuries, including a subdural haemorrhage, deprivation of oxygen to the brain and a number of fractured ribs. Three of the fractures to his ribs were at least 10 days old.

“The experts view is that the injuries had been sustained by a shaking mechanism, by one or each of you on two occasions. One or each of you had shaken him violently causing these injuries.

“One occasion was relatively close to the time he was taken to hospital. The second occasion was at least 10 days before that time.

“You have denied any involvement and still do to this day. This boy suffered very serious and life threatening injuries.

“Doctors and experts have said it is to early to say about what the future holds for him however, he remains at significant risk of developing epilepsy.

“This was use of significant force and more than one incident of cruelty including neglect. The evidence does not point to one or both of you. It cannot be certain which of you caused the injuries to the boy.

‘He was a particularly young child of three months at the time. He was extremely vulnerable. It is quite clear only custody can be justified.

“This was a very serious matter involving life threatening injuries to a very young child who was in your care.”