Drug abuser fractured baby daughter's skull

PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

He shoved 10-month-old's head against wall, and bit her ears, left forearm and upper arm

Angry that he had no money to buy drugs, a man shoved his baby daughter's head against a wall, fracturing the back of her skull when he failed to pacify the crying girl.

The 23-year-old unemployed man admitted in court yesterday that he had repeatedly abused the then 10-month-old baby on Aug 9 and 10 last year. He cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the child's identity.

The man pleaded guilty to one count each of ill-treating the baby and causing grievous hurt to her.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo said the man has had a history of drug use since 2007.

During the time of the acts of abuse, he had relapsed to his old habit and consumed drugs almost every day. He was also reported to have been easily frustrated and vented his anger on his daughter and his wife, the baby's mother.

The baby was scared of the man and would burst into tears every time she saw him, the court was told.

The court heard that on the morning of Aug 9 last year, the man threw a plastic bottle at his daughter's face when she would not stop crying. He left the flat and was in a foul mood when he returned that evening, as he had no money to buy drugs. He scolded his wife and startled their daughter, who started to cry.

DPP Yeo said the man then pushed the baby's head against the wall. She added: "The back of her head hit the wall. The victim fell to the mattress below, and was quickly carried away by (her mother)."

The man was carrying the baby at around 9am the next day when he started to bite the child all over her left forearm and upper arm. He also bit her ears at around 7pm that day.

DPP Yeo said the man had a habit of biting the girl. According to his wife, she had seen him biting their child as far back as May last year.

The woman's father, who had been alerted by a family member to his granddaughter's ordeal, lodged a police report on Aug 13 last year about his son-in-law's acts of abuse.

Police took the baby to the children's emergency department at the National University Hospital later that day. Extensive injuries were noted all over the child, the court heard.

Besides a fracture to the back of her skull, she had multiple bruises and cuts to her face, torso and limbs. The baby was hospitalised until Aug 15 last year.

The man, who did not have a lawyer, is currently behind bars after he was sent to a drug rehabilitation centre last September for substance abuse.

He will be sentenced on Nov 2.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2017, with the headline 'Drug abuser fractured baby daughter's skull'. Print Edition | Subscribe