A Northamptonshire couple who took their daughter out of out of hospital - even though doctors warned them she may have fractured her leg, faced a judge under child neglect charges.
Early one morning in 2014, the couple - who this newspaper cannot name in case the victim is identified - took the two-and-a-half-year-old girl to a hospital in Edgware, North London with complaints of pain in her ankles.
Doctors discovered fractures to her tibia and fibia as well as “extensive bruising” to girl’s buttocks and the top of her legs.
On Thursday, Northampton Crown Court heard how clinicians told the parents the young girl would need to undergo further examinations on the legs and take a blood test.
But the man, aged 25, and the woman, the child’s biological mother, aged 22, removed the girl from the hospital before she could be treated.
Police were then called to a house in London where the couple were staying to remove the young girl.
A party was in progress at the house, and the couple were taken into custody.
Prosecuting, William Falshaw, said the charge had two elements to it: firstly that the parents delayed taking the child to hospital in the first place, even though she was in “obvious distress.”
Secondly, the neglect charge related to withdrawing her from hospital before she could receive proper treatment.
But Mr Falshaw added: “The prosecution do not have the medical evidence that enables us to say who was responsible for those injuries or the precise mechanism that resulted in the fracture and the bruising.”
Sentencing the couple, Recorder Graham Huston, showed leniency to the 22-year-old mother by handing her a 15-month suspended sentence.
The 25-year-old man was given a 15-month custodial-term however - as the offence marked his 32nd conviction.
Some of his past crimes included robbery, kidnap and dangerous driving.
The young child, now aged five, was taken into care just days after the incident.
Mr Falshaw said expert evidence at the time showed the bruising to the buttocks was of a “non-accidental origin.”
A paediatric radiologist said the fractures would have occurred around six days before the child was taken to hospital.
They would have required “significant force,” which could have included “a fall from height or direct blows”.
The mother first claimed the injuries had been caused by placing the girl on the ground.
She later changed her story to police, saying the fractures were likely caused by her partner dropping the girl while running.
The bruising she said, was a result of the child “falling off a swing.”
Defending for the woman, Michael Cogan, said the mother had “come on leaps and bounds” since the offence - having been “practically mono-syllabic” at the time of her arrest in 2014.
Representing the man in court, Daniel Chadwick, said the defendant had recently rid himself of a cocaine addiction and was working over 50 hours a week.
He added that, despite the man’s lengthy antecedents, there were no other offences for child neglect.