20th Jan, 2022

Coventry man faces 16 years in jail for leaving baby with 32 broken bones

Coventry Editorial 21st Oct, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A BRUTAL man who carried out repeated assaults on his girlfriend’s baby son, leaving him with 32 broken bones, is facing up to 16 years in jail.

And the mother of the baby, who was just six months old when his horrific catalogue of injuries was discovered, has been told it is ‘overwhelmingly likely’ she will also be jailed.

A jury at Warwick Crown Court heard the baby was taken to Coventry’s University Hospital in May last year after his mother Tiffany Hilton had taken him to a walk-in centre because he had breathing difficulties.

Medics then discovered he had suffered more than a dozen fractures to his ribs, severe fractures to bones in his legs and arms, damage to his spine and other injuries.

Hilton (27) of Windmill Road, Longford, Coventry, and her then-partner James Laidlaw (22) of Wexford Road, Wood End, Coventry, had pleaded not guilty to causing him grievous bodily harm with intent.

That charge was withdrawn against Hilton following a submission by her barrister Simon Hunka before the jury retired.

But the jury took just two hours and 47 minutes to find Laidlaw guilty of the charge and Hilton guilty of allowing the baby to suffer serious harm by failing to take steps protect him.

They were both also found guilty of a further charge of cruelty to a child by assaulting, ill-treating, neglecting or exposing him to unnecessary suffering between February and May last year and failing to get treatment for him.

Mr Hunka asked for the case to be adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on HIlton.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano agreed, and granted her bail – but warned: “She does need to be aware the overwhelmingly likely sentence is a prison sentence.”

Elizabeth Power, for Laidlaw, suggested the judge might be helped by a report on him, even though the sentence in his case was inevitable.

But Judge de Bertodano responded: “It’s going to be a lengthy one.  I don’t see there is a need for a report.

“It is hard to avoid the conclusion that there is some sort of pre-meditation when assaults go on and on like this.”

She adjourned sentencing until late November or early December, on a date to be arranged, and remanded Laidlaw in custody.

During the trial prosecutor Andrew Wallace said the pair were living together between February and May 2014.

He said: “It’s a campaign of violence to this child, so the longer it goes on, the more the neglect. Even on an adult that number of injuries you would have regarded as pretty serious.”

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