Police evidence presented to a court on the New South Wales south coast has revealed allegations of violent physical abuse against a 12-week-old baby, including being “karate-chopped” and having its head hit against a door frame.
- A 20-year-old man, who cannot be named, has been charged with 19 counts of domestic-related abuse against a 12-week-old baby
- Police say there were concerns for the baby’s welfare even before it was born
- In an interview with police, they allege the man admitted to “karate-chopping” the baby’s torso and squeezing its ribs
A 20-year-old man, who cannot be named, was arrested and charged on Tuesday with 19 counts of domestic-related abuse and made a brief appearance in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday.
In police facts tendered to the court, officers said there were concerns for the child’s welfare even before it was born because the man and his young partner were known drug users, had mental health problems, and also had an abusive relationship.
They were also known to Family and Community Services (FACS), and the agency had been in touch with the couple and already had taken steps to initiate a safety plan.
About eight weeks after the child was born, FACS received a report of bruises to its face and a week later visited the home with the couple explaining the injuries were scratches from the child’s fingernails.
During the visit, FACS claimed both parents appeared to be affected by drugs and admitted to using cannabis.
Hospital staff find multiple injuries
A couple of weeks later the accused went into FACS to talk about housing issues and workers noticed bruises on the child’s head.
The accused told the staff he had been standing by a wall and the child threw its head back.
The accused is alleged to have said the mother had taken the baby to hospital and it was referred to a paediatrician but they could not afford it.
Police say checks revealed the child was not taken to hospital.
The next day FACS began the process of obtaining an order to remove the child and, with police, went to the couple’s home, but the parents allegedly barricaded themselves inside.
Police said entry was forced and the child was removed and taken to hospital.
An examination of the child by medical staff identified a fracture to the baby’s right wrist, fractures to its left and right ribs, and multiple fractures to its skull.
‘Karate-chopped’ child’s torso
In another interview the mother also allegedly told police about a day in August when she left the child with the accused to attend appointments, and she returned home to find the child crying with blood coming out of its mouth.
The police evidence also revealed officers used covert methods to record conversations of the accused and the mother. Through those conversations officers allege the man admitted squeezing the bay’s ribs and “karate-chopped” its torso, making it vomit.
Police said it became evident the accused was violent, aggressive and volatile, had a temper, did not handle stress or pressure, and admitted to his partner that he squeezed the baby’s ribs, hit its head against the door frame, and held it up by the hands.
The man was emotional in his brief appearance before the court.
He said he may have hurt the child’s ribs, but was not responsible for its head injury.
“I may have hurt [its] ribs when I was massaging [it], but [it] fell and hit [its] head,” the accused said.
He argued he was trying to get his life back together, but people were attempting to ruin him.
Magistrate Susan McGowan said the evidence against the accused was quite distressing and refused his bail application.
He will reappear in court on October 16.
The baby has been released from hospital and is in care.