A drug addict who left a five-month-old baby girl with horrendous facial injuries after dipping her face in boiling hot bath water following a weekend binge was jailed today for eight-and-a-half years.
Jobless John Ward, 19, was supposed to be looking after the girl but had instead spent two days downing 30 ecstasy pills, 20 valium, amphetamines, cannabis and booze.
He had also bitten the girl and she suffered two unexplained broken legs.
Jailing Ward, judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, said: 'The cruelty inflicted here almost defies belief. It was not an accident it was deliberate cruelty in the midst of an alcohol and drug induced state.
'You have low intelligence, but you knew what you were doing. What you did was truly wicked. You should never have responsibility for a child again.'
Hull Crown Court heard how the baby screamed uncontrollably so Ward rubbed the child’s face with a flannel and skin began to fall off during the incident in April last year.
He woke his girlfriend Kelly Horner, 23, who had also been drinking and smoking cannabis, to tell her the baby was injured. Despite the seriousness of the situation they did not seek any medical attention for five hours. When the pair finally arrived at Hull Royal Infirmary they lied to doctors saying it was the result of spilt tea.
Ward later told police: 'I chucked her in the bath with the hot and cold taps running and when I came back she was under the hot water tap. 'I forgot about the bath as I was making a cup of tea. I was about ten minutes.'
The girl suffered five per cent burns and only her lips were spared injury because she had a dummy in her mouth.
Defending, Nigel Clive, said Ward was a foster child who had mental health problems which meant he could become a paranoid schizophrenic.
'He is a young man who does not bear the maturity and understanding of someone his age. He has difficulty working out what is safe or not safe, real or not real, what is good or what is bad.'
Mr Clive said he was gullible to be taken in as a babysitter and events were clouded by the amounts of drugs he had taken.
Defending John Thackray said Horner's role was merely not taking the child to hospital for the five hours after the burns.
He said she denied taking the drugs, but refused when challenged by the judge to give evidence from the witness box.
Mr Thackray said the probation service had wrongly assumed she was guilty of more than cruelty and made assumptions that she lacked remorse.
Horner, of Cherry Tree Lane, Beverley, pleaded guilty to child cruelty and is due to be sentenced on December 14.
John Ward, of Octagon, Willerby, pleaded guilty to charges of causing actual bodily harmed, grievous bodily harm and child cruelty. Judge Richardson added: 'The drug and alcohol fuel background to this case is truly appalling. It appears having taken a cocktail of cannabis, ecstasy, valium, amphetamines and alcohol you were in a position of responsibility for a child that was vulnerable and helpless.
'You placed the baby's face into scolding hot water. I have no doubt she was in agony. She must have struggled and yet you did nothing.
'You took no action for five hours until the skin started peeling off her face. You then began a cover- up telling doctors tea had been spilt on her.
'I have seen the pictures of the girl taken an hour and a half after she was admitted to hospital. The suffering from the burns leaps from the page.
'She is so young she is not capable of explaining her suffering which is inculpable. In many respects the sentence should be longer.'