A bus driver who battered a prematurely-born baby – leaving her with permanent brain damage so she will be unable to properly speak – is facing jail.
Scott Innes (30) was looking after the 11 week-old tot, the weight of just two bags of sugar, while her mother went to the bingo in Bo’ness.
Suddenly he phoned to say she had “fallen off the sofa” onto a laminate floor, even though, at only two days past what would have been her full-term delivery date, the mite was not independently mobile.
He followed up with a photo – showing bruising right across her forehead, down to her ear, and starting to spread down her whole face.
Her mother and grandmother rushed home and the child was taken to the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, where she was found to have subdural bruising on the brain and a sub-conjunctival haematoma to her right eye.
It later emerged she also had three fractured ribs and “extensive intercranial injuries”.
She subsequently developed “structural changes” to her brain, which lost volume while increased internal pressure caused her head to increase in size.
Now, more than two years after the incident, she still has a “shunt” in her head to reduce this pressure, and her speech centre is irreparably damaged.
Her distraught mum and gran have been told she may never be able to form a sentence – just utter single words.
Stirling Sheriff Court heard that though Innes had been the only person with the child on the evening of the incident on May 30, 2017, and there was no direct evidence of how he had inflicted her injuries, the medical evidence was “overwhelmingly clear” that they were non-accidental.
Doctors said her rib injuries must have been caused by “significant force, such as squeezing” and the eye haematoma also by significant force, perhaps by shaking.
After a six day trial, a jury of seven men and eight women – one of whom was reduced to tears – took little more than two hours to find Innes, of Bo’ness, guilty by majority of assaulting her to her severe injury and permanent impairment and inflicting blunt-force trauma on her “by means to the prosecutor unknown”.
Innes, who pleaded not guilty, did not give evidence.
He showed no emotion, apart from to shake his head in denial, when the verdict was returned.
Prosecutor Samantha Brown said: “People can do things that are evil without warning. The tragic inescapable truth is that Scott Innes deliberately inflicted these injuries on this baby.”
Sheriff William Gilchrist deferred sentence for reports and continued bail on Innes, whose only previous conviction are two road traffic offences.
Defence advocate David Moggach said he would reserve his speech in mitigation for the sentencing hearing on September 4.