World

Pembrokeshire man shook baby leaving her with ‘catastrophic injuries’

A babysitter who shook a five-month old baby so violently that she was left with life-changing brain injuries has been jailed.

28-year-old Stephen Carl Smith was asked by family friends Sophie Reed and Luke Taylor to look after their daughter while they went out.

But while babysitting, Smith violently shook Bayleigh-Lee Taylor leaving her with serious injuries.

As a result, Bayleigh-Lee has been left with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, feeding and mobility issues, delayed development and almost total loss of sight.

Bayleigh-Lee’s mother is now her full-time carer.

Smith denied shaking the child, but was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent following a trial at Swansea Crown Court.

On August 18, 2016, the couple asked Smith to look after their child while they went out. Both keen anglers, they went sea-fishing together for a couple of hours.

When the parents returned to their home in Merlin’s Bridge, Pembrokeshire, they found Bayleigh-Lee ”propped up on a chair” and apparently sleeping.

They went into the kitchen but there was a sudden ”piercing cry” from the other room. They rushed back to the infant and picked her up but she was ”limp and lifeless.”

Detailed examinations found the baby had suffered ”non-accidental head trauma” which resulted in ”life-changing and catastrophic” brain injuries.

In a statement, her parents described their life being ”turned upside down” in the months after the incident.

The judge said it was not known exactly what had happened on the night in question but it was clear “something went disastrously wrong” and force was used which lead to “catastrophic injuries”.

Judge Heywood sentenced Smith, of Hywel Street, Haverfordwest, to 10 years. He will serve half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.

Speaking after Smith was jailed for 10 years, Bayleigh-Lee’s parents, said they hoped that the case would highlight the issue of “baby shaking”.

We have spent three-years not really being able to speak about what happened.

We now have the result we wanted, and the result Bayleigh-Lee needed. We want people to know, to be aware, of this type of thing – it is not really talked about.

– LUKE TAYLOR, BAYLEIGH-LEE’S FATHER

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