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Baby girl left brain-damaged by 'stressed' Xbox gamer

Dale Thomson has been jailed for five years after violently shaking the nine-month-old.

Jailed: Dale Thomson violently shook the nine-month old.
Jailed: Dale Thomson violently shook the nine-month old. Spindrift

A man who left a baby girl badly brain damaged after getting "stressed" playing his Xbox has been jailed for almost five years.

Dale Thomson admitted violently shaking the nine-month old at a flat in Dundee in April this year.

A judge at the High Court in Glasgow heard the victim will suffer "lifelong implications".

It also emerged that the 27-year-old storeman lashed out at a one-month-old boy eight years earlier because he woke during the night.

Thomson admitted assaulting the baby boy at another house in Dundee in October 2010.

On Friday, Judge Lord Burns jailed Thomson for four years and eight months and ordered that he be supervised for a further three years on his release.

Passing sentence he told him: "You pled guilty to two charges of assaulting very young children, separated by about eight years.

"The injury was severe. It will have lifelong implications impacting on her movement, learning, speech and vision."
Prosecutor Paul Kearney.

"You knew yourself to be somebody who could lose control of his temper and that happened in October 2010 and again in April 2018."

The court heard Thomson had been living in Dundee having moved from Irvine.

He had been looking after the girl on April 1 this year and spent time that day playing an Xbox game online with a teenage boy while the child was asleep.

Prosecutor Paul Kearney said Thomson and the girl's mum went on to exchange text messages.

Mr Kearney: "He mentioned that the game - which involved trying to complete certain 'missions' - was stressful."

The woman went on to state he looked "raging" after he sent her a photo of him playing the console.

She urged him not to play the game and asked him "not to take his feelings out on others" or she would switch it off on returning home.

Mr Kearney said the exact time of the assault was not known.

Around 2.55pm, texts suggested "everything appeared well" with Thomson and the child, but by 3.42pm, Thomson was making a 999 call insisting the girl's eyes were "rolling" and that she was not breathing.

The child was then rushed to hospital and her relatives were alerted.

Thomson went to claim he had found the girl "floppy" in her cot and the court heard the child suffered seizures in hospital.

Medics thought she may have meningitis after Thomson said she recently had a virus.

Dale Thomson: Left girl with severe health problems.
Dale Thomson: Left girl with severe health problems. Spindrift

She was transferred to Edinburgh's Sick Children's Hospital where it was instead discovered she had bleeding on the brain.

This was "indicative of non-accidental injury".

When Thomson was later quizzed by police, he was described as "angry and very agitated" and "strongly denied" hurting the girl and moaned he was being "unfairly treated".

Then when he was eventually arrested he insisted police were "corrupt".

Despite his initial denials, Thomson went on to blurt out: "I know I've got a lot of time ahead of me in jail. I've nobody to blame bar myself."

Mr Kearney said it was agreed that Thomson"violently shook" the girl causing her head to "rapidly" go back and forwards.

The advocate depute added: "The injury ... was severe. It will have lifelong implications impacting on her movement, learning, speech and vision."

"He mentioned that the game - which involved trying to complete certain 'missions' - was stressful."
Prosecutor Paul Kearney

The child continues to need "high levels of care" and attends a specialist unit at hospital every day.

The court was told that, in the weeks before the attack, Thomson was apparently not sleeping well and "felt that he was not coping".

But, it emerged Thomson had already been violent towards a young child when he attacked the baby boy in October 2010.

The child woke up crying early one morning - before a raging Thomson grabbed him from the seat he was in.

He yelled: "Do you want to go to f****** sleep. I don't know what's the f****** wrong with you."

The baby's mum saw what happened.

Mr Kearney: "She described it as being done 'with some force - almost in kind of dropping motion. It had been done without supporting the (child's) head."

The mum called police as Thomson claimed he was sorry and that it was "just frustration".

He also said he was "out of order".

"Babies and young children are completely dependent upon the adults who care for them and Thomson horrifically disregarded that responsibility."
NSPCC

A spokesman for children's charity NSPCC Scotland said: "Thomson inflicted appalling injuries on two defenceless babies who he was looking after at the time of the assaults.

"Babies and young children are completely dependent upon the adults who care for them and Thomson horrifically disregarded that responsibility.

"The NSPCC offers help and support to parents struggling to cope with babies crying and other stressful situations via our website and helpline."

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free, 24/7, on 0808 800 5000. Children can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111.

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