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Man blamed puppy for life-changing injuries on baby boy

Paul Carlton was jailed for 12 years for the attempted murder of the eight-week-old baby.

Carlton: Shook eight-week-old baby
Carlton: Shook eight-week-old baby Spindrift

A man who tried to blame his puppy for the attempted murder of a baby has been jailed for 12 years.

Paul Carlton violently shook the eight-week-old boy leaving him with life-changing brain injuries in August 2017.

The 25-year-old was supposedly looking after the child at his home in Nitshill, Glasgow.

Carlton claimed he had been briefly tidying his garden when he heard a cry from inside.

He left the boy in the flat in his baby swing alone with his two dogs.

The accused described one of the pets - a cross American Staffordshire terrier puppy called Sapphire - as "boisterous".

He told the High Court in Glasgow he could "speculate" Sapphire seriously injured the baby as he did not.

But jurors found him guilty of attempted murder and he was sentenced on Wednesday

Lord Burns told him: "These cases are always tragic. The boy has been rendered helpless by your actions.

"He was as vulnerable a child as could possibly be imagined.

"You have tried to deflect responsibility by various means but the jury found you guilty.

"He is now wholly dependent on his mother and others."

Carlton was looking after the boy on August 9, 2017 while the child's mum went for a beauty appointment and lunch with her sister.

The baby had been checked by a health visitor that morning and found to be fine.

He sent the baby's mother a video of her son while she was out and he was waving and kicking his legs.

The mum left her son that day at 12.58pm - by 2.29pm Carlton was dialling 999.

Carlton told jurors he had been out in the garden when he heard a "loud cry" and went indoors and realised something was wrong.

He said: "He was not opening his eyes properly."

Carlton's grandparents visited and agreed the child needed medical help.

The baby was found to have suffered massive brain damage.

Lord Burns sentenced Carlton to 12 years in jail
Lord Burns sentenced Carlton to 12 years in jail
'In that time frame, something very dramatic has happened. The injuries are consistent with a shaking injury'
Professor Robin Sellar, neuro-radiologist

Professor Robin Sellar - a neuro-radiologist told jurors: "In that time frame, something very dramatic has happened. The injuries are consistent with a shaking injury."

Carlton denied being responsible for what happened.

He said: "I would never hurt any child."

Carlton claimed he was not "covering up" the attack and had not wanted to "end the life" of the baby.

Asked about his dog Sapphire, he then claimed she was a "very hyper puppy" at the time who "did not know her own strength".

He said the pet had previously "cut and bruised" a little girl.

His lawyer, Dale Hughes, asked him: "If there was an example of this dog being potentially harmful, why let it near the boy?"

Carlton replied: "I thought because I had another dog she would learn from him and calm down possibly."

Prosecutor Alan Cameron pointed out the boy had no bite marks or cuts associated with a possible dog attack.

He said: "The dog would have to have picked the boy up, shaken him with such vigour and put him back where he was or collide with him with such force."

Carlton said: "I understand where the hospital is coming from, but the only explanation I have is the dog as I know I did not harm the child."

Mr Cameron added: "The dog is just speculation?" He replied: "Yes."

Jurors were told the child - now aged two - can not crawl, walk or talk.

During the trial it emerged Carlton had previously been violent to the boy's mum.

This included headbutting her causing her nose to bleed.

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