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'Despicable' man jailed for inflicting brain damage on baby

A MAN who caused horrific brain damage to a baby boy by violently shaking him has been jailed for 15 years.

John Dobbie, 36, was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh after being convicted of attempting to murder the 15-week-old infant in Kirkcaldy in June 2011.

He repeatedly shook the child and struck his head against a surface, using such force it was compared in court to the baby having been dropped from an upper floor window.

As a result of the brutal attack, the child now suffers from cerebral palsy, cannot move independently, has to be fed through a tube and is blind.

He will never be able to speak and will need full-time care for the rest of his life.

A police investigation was launched after Dobbie took the child to Forth Park Hospital in Kirkcaldy, claiming he had become unwell.

Tests confirmed the baby had a massive skull fracture and other signs of violent shaking, including retinal haemorrhaging, were found.

In his sentencing statement, Judge Lord Armstrong said: "This crime is marked by its sheer brutality and by its devastating and catastrophic consequences.

"The baby was very severely brain-damaged.

"At your trial, expert evidence, on two separate bases, was led to the effect that these injuries could only have occurred while the infant was in your care.

"The clear evidence was that, but for the emergency medical attention which he received on the evening of your attack, the baby, undoubtedly, and very quickly, would have died.

"A crime of this type could not be more repugnant to a civilised society and it is the responsibility of the court to reflect that."

Lord Armstrong said the sentence reflected the "extremely vulnerable" and defenceless position of the victim, the responsibility Dobbie had at the time the crime was committed and the "extreme" force he had used.

"It is difficult to see how your actions, short of actually murdering him, could have constituted a greater breach of trust."

Dobbie has two previous convictions on his record but these were not for violent crimes

Police Scotland Detective Inspector John Anderson, who led the investigation, said: "The sentence handed to John Dobbie reflects just how truly a horrendous crime he committed.

"The horrific injuries the child sustained mean he will live with numerous impairments for the rest of his life and will require day-to-day care. Despite this, John Dobbie has never shown any remorse for his actions, which demonstrates how cold and callous an individual he is.

"I would like to thank all of those who ensured this despicable crime was brought to trial for all of their efforts."

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