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Man who dangled baby by neck while in pram spared jail

George Cochrane choked the 15-month-old boy, who turned blue in the face.

George Cochrane: 27-year-old was annoyed at the baby's crying.
George Cochrane: 27-year-old was annoyed at the baby's crying. Central Scotland News Agency

A man who dangled a baby strapped in his pushchair by the neck of his hooded jacket has been spared jail.

The combined weight of child and buggy pressing on his windpipe began to choke the 15-month-old boy, who turned blue in the face before his attacker relented.

George Cochrane, 27, of Lumley Street, Grangemouth, near Falkirk, was annoyed at the baby's crying and called him "a little b*****d".

At Stirling Sheriff Court on Wednesday, sheriff William Gilchrist said jailing Cochrane, who had already spent three weeks in custody on remand, would serve "no useful purpose".

He sentenced him to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work - the maximum allowed - and placed him under supervision for two years.

Cochrane was also ordered to have anger management and alcohol counselling.

The sheriff said: "The charges to which you pled guilty did not involve any allegation of injury but that does not reduce their seriousness, considering they involved a very young infant boy.

"It appears that at the time you had a number of personal difficulties. You were simply not coping and you were unable to deal appropriately with challenging situations.

"I think you accept that what you did was entirely wrong."

The assault on the boy was seen by two witnesses.

Court: Cochrane sentenced to 300 hours' unpaid work.
Court: Cochrane sentenced to 300 hours' unpaid work.

Prosecutor Matthew Kerr said: "He strapped the baby in a his pushchair and when he continued to cry took hold of the hood of top the baby was wearing and lifted him by it.

"Both the child and the pushchair were lifted from the floor.

"Both witnesses observed the baby's face go purple and then blue, and saw he was struggling to breathe as the front of his clothing was tightening to the front of his neck."

Mr Kerr said the witnesses "challenged" Cochrane, who he put the baby back on the seat of the pushchair and left.

The incident happened at a house in Grangemouth where Cochrane visited with the baby, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, at lunchtime.

The court heard the witnesses were already concerned after a previous incident a few weeks earlier.

On that occasion, Cochrane picked the baby up from the floor by his jacket and shook him backwards and forwards violently because he was crying.

Social workers were contacted the next day.

The child was taken to a place of safety and examined by doctors, who found brown bruises on either side of his forehead.

Mr Kerr said: "They found the injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma and said a child of his age would not have been able to bruise himself so badly by striking his head on the side of his cot."

Mr Kerr said on both occasions the baby had been attacked after crying because it was tired.

Cochrane, an unemployed father-of-one, had pleaded guilty to assaulting the child and behaving towards him in a threatening and abusive manner.

The incidents occurred between December 2015 and March 28, 2016.

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