During a court hearing this week, a mother who left a 6-month-old child with brain damage and several fractures was spared prison time.
A judge at the Glasgow, England High Court sentenced Shannon Soutter, 23, to 300 hours of community service, claiming that prison time was “neither appropriate or necessary.”
“She punishes herself daily and will continue to do so,” the judge said. “I think it is little the court can do by way of punishment that is greater than what she has imposed on herself.”
In April 2018, after the child stopped breathing properly, Soutter called her daughter’s dad and requested assistance. He called 999, then came to Soutter’s house to discover the baby “silent, limp and lifeless.”
The child was taken to a hospital where doctors determined that she had brain damage as well as fractures on her skull, ankle, and ribs. Doctors observed that the baby’s eyesight was probably damaged and that she could end up blind.
At first, Soutter asserted that while being rocked, the child might have bumped her head. However, medical testimony indicated that the infant had been physically abused. Soutter confessed hurting the child in court previously this week. Prosecutors said the abuse has been going on for three months.
Prosecutors said Soutter acted like nothing had happened after the child was taken to the hospital and later complained that missing a hair appointment. She once asserted the child “hated her.”
Before her detention, Soutter searched for “what happens if a baby is hit” online and told a friend that the child was doing “her head in.”
Prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC said, “Blood samples confirmed that there was no medical explanation that would account for her presentation and injuries.”
The judge said that Stoutter had a history of depression and suffered from mental health problems.
“In light of factors and the clearly vouched mental health difficulties, I am satisfied the public duty does not require me to pass a sentence which would incarcerate Miss Soutter,” the judge added.
Soutter was instructed to have no unsupervised contact with children and undergo mental health therapy in addition to community service.
The child is in her dad’s care.