Man breaks 5-month-old girl's arms, legs and ribs by 'grotesquely manipulating' them in 'purposeless' act

Stephen Foster, 32, was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to his charges


                            Man breaks 5-month-old girl's arms, legs and ribs by 'grotesquely manipulating' them in 'purposeless' act
(Devon and Cornwall Police)

A British man accused of torturing a baby girl by twisting her arms and legs back and leaving her with injuries similar to those expected in an adult involved in a car crash has been found guilty and jailed. 

The Plymouth Crown Court heard how Stephen Foster, 32, of Insworke Place, Millbrook, broke the arms and ribs of the five-month-old infant in two separate attacks, squeezing her so hard he broke three of her ribs, according to Plymouth Live. The court also heard how he "grotesquely manipulated" the child's arms and legs by putting her left leg backward underneath her body and pulling one of her arms behind her leg.

Heather Hope, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the infant's injuries came to light after her mom called 999 because the young girl would not stop crying. She said paramedics were initially aware of just a leg injury, and that the bruise on her chest was spotted only after a full examination was carried out at the hospital.

She revealed that doctors found spiral fracture at the top of the femur, the thigh bone, as well as fractures on her humerus or upper arm bone and a bone in her forearm.

Hope added that the child was "in severe pain and inconsolable due to the injury," and that all of her injuries required considerable force and could not have been caused accidentally as they were caused by three different actions.

A doctor called to testify at the hearing said the infant's injuries were similar to what he would expect from an adult in a car crash or falling from a height.

Foster had been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and grievous bodily harm without intent in connection to the victim's injuries. He pleaded guilty to the first count in September 2018 before admitting to the latter one last month.

Michael Green, defending, pointed out that his client had handed himself in two days after the victim was taken to the hospital because police had been suspecting the mother.

"He has been open in trying to explain why he behaved in this way. It offers no comfort but he is a loss to explain why he did what he did. There are expressions of deep regret of what he did," he said, adding that he had "poor stress management skills." 

Sentencing the 32-year-old to six years and eight months in prison, Judge Paul Darlow said, "Your actions have been described by a probation officer as abhorrent and inexcusable and those descriptions are entirely appropriate."

He also said that the victim was "particularly vulnerable" and highlighted the comments of a psychiatrist who had described his actions as "purposeless."

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