Man, 28, who blinded baby girl jailed for 15 years

Ross Dunn was found guilty of attempted murder. Picture: PA
Ross Dunn was found guilty of attempted murder. Picture: PA
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A 28-YEAR-OLD man who inflicted catastrophic injuries on a four-week-old baby after losing his temper has been jailed for 15 years for her ­attempted murder.

Ross Dunn shook the infant and struck her when he was left looking after her and her older sister when their mother had gone out.

The baby, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, suffered a fractured skull, broken leg, eye damage, bleeding and bruising following the attack at her home in Edinburgh.

She is now registered blind.

Judge Lord Malcolm told Dunn at the High Court in Edinburgh: “This was an inexplicable, horrendous crime committed on a tiny baby. It is plain that only a lengthy custodial sentence would be appropriate.”

The judge said the assault left the child with multiple injuries and that she was now “permanently and severely disabled”.

He said: “She will never be able to enjoy a normal life.

“It was only thanks to the excellent care and treatment from doctors and other staff at the Sick Children’s Hospital that she survived.

“Nonetheless, the impact upon her mother, sister and other family could hardly be more serious.”

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Lord Malcolm said the jury at Dunn’s trial had concluded that the nature and severity of the assault on the child demonstrated that Dunn did not care whether she lived or died, and so he ­convicted him of attempted murder.

The child’s mother told the court: “She is a good little girl, but she has been left with very severe, lifelong disabilities.

“She is not mobile. She is very floppy like a small baby. She will likely never stand, walk, even sit by herself.”

Dunn had earlier denied attempting to murder the child at a flat in Edinburgh on 17 November, 2013, but was found guilty after trial.

He was convicted of assaulting her to her severe injury and permanent impairment by seizing her by the body, shaking her, striking her against a surface or by means unknown and attempting to murder her.

He was also found guilty of failing to seek medical aid and failing to tell doctors treating her how she had been injured.

After Dunn, who has previous convictions for assault, was found guilty of the offences, advocate depute Bruce Erroch told the judge that two victim impact statements had been completed on behalf of the child by her mother.

Mr Erroch had told jurors at the original trial that Dunn was “a man who by his own admission has problems with his temper”. The prosecutor added: “He lost control. He lost his temper.”

The child was taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh where it was noted that her heart rate was very high and there were signs her brain was not working properly.

A consultant in paediatric and emergency medicine said she was taking occasional pauses in her breathing and he had documented “a high pitched scream”.

A pattern of bruising was found above the child’s ankle which was suggestive of being caused by “gripped fingers”.

Cannabis smoker Dunn told his defence counsel, Donald Findlay QC, that he had not intentionally harmed the child.

He said he had got up with the child to get a bottle for her and was holding her in his right arm and fell as he tried to avoid a baby walker used by the older girl.

He told the court: “From what I remember, at that point I tried to pull her in towards me. I knew I was going to hit the floor.”

Dunn, of Wester Drylaw Place, Edinburgh, said it was a “really heavy” fall. “Immediately I thought she was OK. For the first few seconds I really thought she was OK, but very quickly after that I realised she probably was not, but I hoped.”

“I just hoped it would go away. I thought she would get better.”