Man inflicted 23 bruises on child

Oxford Crown Court
Oxford Crown Court

A Banbury man who caused 23 bruises to a four-month old child was handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday.

On January 13 this year, Ben O’Donovan, 27, of Park Road, Banbury, admitted one count of actual bodily harm and one count of assault by beating.

Nigel Ogborne, prosecuting, told the court how on September 5, 2013, a care worker noticed the baby had extensive bruising.

O’Donovan later told police during an interview that he had tapped the baby around the side of the head because it was crying and he was ‘stressed’ and couldn’t get help he needed to look after the child.

O’Donovan admitted bruising the child a second time on September 4.

He said he took the baby into a hospital car park and tried to comfort it by gripping it to his chest but said he must have done so ‘a bit too tightly’.

Consultant pathologist Dr Julie Johnson saw the baby on September 5 and identified bruising to the upper lip, jaw, the upper arms, left shoulder and both thighs, which she said was consistent with the child being gripped ‘very tightly’.

Terence Woods, defending, said a psychological report showed O’Donovan’s intellectual capacity to be below that of a child of six to eight years old and he was ‘completely unable to cope’ with the situation he found himself in.

Sentencing O’Donovan, Judge Eccles said: “The defendant had neither the emotional, physical or psychological resources to cope with the situation in which he found himself.”

In addition to the suspended sentence, O’Donovan was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.