A FATHER who shook his 15-week-old baby son so violently he was left blind for life is starting a four-year jail sentence.
Paul Sykes, 40, has also been banned from ever working with children after committing grievous bodily harm against little Charlie Senior.
And it can now be revealed the conviction is his second for injuring a child.
Bradford Crown Court heard Charlie suffered brain damage and bleeding on the eye when he was shaken by Sykes, of North Street, Lockwood, on May 18 2007.
The tot was left blind and with restricted movement and is likely to need care for the rest of his life.
The court heard it was not Sykes’s first offence of GBH against a baby.
He was given a nine-month suspended sentence in 1992 for breaking the leg of a two-month-old girl, who was also left with facial and abdominal bruising.
After yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Charlie’s mum Joanne, of Willow Grove in Golcar, said: “I’m really happy with the result.
“The maximum he could have got was five years.
“He is only going to serve two years but that’s going to feel like a lifetime and I hope he suffers. Charlie’s going to suffer for the rest of his life.
“The most important thing is that the judge recognised what a danger he is to children.”
Joanne, 32, was at home with Charlie and Sykes when the incident happened.
She heard a loud scream and minutes later Sykes walked upstairs carrying Charlie’s limp body.
Sykes called 999 and gave Charlie mouth-to-mouth while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
Doctors said his injuries were consistent with him being shaken.
David Hall, prosecuting, said: “Unhappily, the consequence of the shaking is permanent blindness and a squint caused by the brain damage.
“The prognosis for Charlie is guarded but essentially very pessimistic...Given the child was of normal development before this incident, there may well be severe problems for the rest of his life.
“He will be unable to function independently as an adult and may require care for the rest of his life.”
Sykes claimed he shook Charlie because he was having breathing problems as a result of getting teething granules lodged in his throat.
Gillian Batts, defending, said: “This wasn’t a situation where the defendant simply lost his temper or became exasperated.”
The court heard Sykes had a drink problem and since the incident had been drinking up to three bottles of wine a day.
His current partner also told a psychiatrist who was asked to put together a report about Sykes’s mental health that he had a tendency to “squeeze puppies and kittens.”
The report concluded Sykes was a low to moderate risk to children when sober but a moderate to high level risk when drunk. He was not drunk when he shook Charlie.
Miss Batts added: “The defendant has to live with the knowledge that what he did has caused significant injury to his own child and it’s quite clear from the medical evidence that the child is never going to make a full recovery. That’s something the defendant is going to have to live with forever.”
Sykes pleaded guilty to the GBH charge as he was about to go on trial in February.
Sentencing him, judge Recorder Caroline Wigin, said she believed his two offences of GBH showed a pattern of behaviour and he was a risk to children.
She said: “You present a significant danger to young vulnerable children left unsupervised in your care.
“I find you are dangerous and I do find you to be a risk.”
After being released from prison, Sykes will spend a year on licence.
Miss Senior said: “I feel a lot of hatred towards him because of the fact that he fooled me and all the stuff that he kept from me about his past.
“He has never showed one ounce of remorse. He has never asked about Charlie and has no idea about his day-to-day needs.
“But a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders now and I hope we can move on.”
She said Charlie had progressed well since the incident and had started playgroup.
She added: “I think he’s going to prove everyone wrong. He’s never going to be what people would see as normal, but to me he’s just Charlie and he’s a fantastic boy.”
Reacting to the case, Claude Knights, director of children’s charity Kidscape, said: “This case points out the need for pilot schemes like Sarah's Law where a mother taking on a new partner can easily gain detailed information about his past.
“Any mother needs to be really aware of any detail of a new partner's past which could affect her children, everyone has a history.”
The Examiner is able to bring you the full details of this case after challenging reporting restrictions imposed by the judge.
Following the sentencing yesterday, Miss Recorder Wigin initially ordered that Charlie Senior’s name be kept out of press reports.
But we challenged that decision and argued that we had previously published his name, with Joanne Senior’s consent, and should be allowed to fully report the conclusion to the case.
After hearing our representation, Miss Recorder Wigin reversed her decision.