Wakefield thug who shook baby so violently he caused "catastrophic" injuries is finally jailed

A thug who persistently denied shaking a newborn baby boy so violently that he caused him "catastrophic" injuries has been jailed, it can finally be revealed.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 11:02 am

Joshua Moody spent more than three years claiming he was not behind the violent assaults on the seven-week-old tot which left him with permanent brain damage and needing round-the-clock care, Leeds Crown Court was told.

The 25-year-old eventually admitted two counts of causing grievous bodily harm without intent, but Judge Penelope Belcher said he could have saved the youngster's family years of heartbreak if only he "had the guts" to admit his crimes.

Moody's case was heard on May 17, but a court order was put in place that prevented the full facts of the case being reported.

Joshua Moody persistently denied causing the injuries, and led to other members of the baby boy's family being arrested.

The Wakefield Express successfully challenged that decision and only now can the details be revealed.

Prosecutor Craig Hassall had told the court that an ambulance had been called to an address in Wakefield late at night in the summer of 2017, after the the tot - who still cannot be named for legal reasons - became unresponsive.

He then stopped breathing and Moody and other adults in the property at the time were asked to perform CPR until the paramedics arrived.

It was found that he had suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to Pinderfields then later transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit at LGI.

He was found to have multiple injuries including hemorrhaging in various parts of his body, including his spine, and behind both eyes.

He was also found to have six broken ribs, one of which was beginning to heal, suggesting it had been damaged during a previous assault. He also had a fractured shin bone.

Despite Moody's initial denials, Mr Hassall said that medical experts had agreed that the only credible explanation was "life-threatening child abuse", and that many of the injuries had been caused immediately prior to the baby's cardiac arrest that night, consistent with being shaken violently.

It was not thought that he would survive, and his family were told to prepare for the worst.

But he began to improve over the weeks and was eventually able to breathe on his own, although he has been left with severe injuries.

His vision and hearing is impaired, he is unable to speak, is not mobile, suffers from epilepsy and has cerebral palsy, meaning he is likely to need 24/7 care for the rest of his life.

Moody, of Thornleigh Drive, Wakefield, was later charged with GBH with intent and was due to stand trial, but earlier this year admitted to GBH without intent, which was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The court was told that due to Moody's persistent attempts to absolve himself from blame, the finger of suspicion fell on the baby's mother, leading to her arrest, and the arrest of her own mother.

The baby's mother, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, described it as a "nightmare journey" that lasted almost four years.

She said: "As a family we were all under suspicion. Josh maintained his innocence throughout.

"By maintaining his innocence, he was inferring I had to be responsible for what had happened.

"The fact is Josh could have prevented this by admitting his responsibility on any number of occasions. The actions of Josh are terrible and inexcusable."

Mitigating, Christopher Dunn, described Moody - who was 22 at the time - as a "painfully inadequate man".

He said: "One of the most shameful acts is to hurt a child, whether deliberate or accidental.

"He absolutely accepts that he caused the injuries.

"He is absolutely heartbroken that he could do this. That may not resonate with the family, but he has to live with this for the rest of his life."

It was claimed by Moody that he was unaware that he had caused the injuries, but had been the result of "rough handling" of the child, and a "flash loss of temper", which he immediately regretted and then panicked.

Judge Belcher said: "I find it concerning that you admit to two small shakes, but there is no way two small shakes caused this.

"It's quite clear from the medical evidence there was significant shaking. Even now there's an attempt to minimise what has happened here, albeit, you accept that you caused this.

"The injuries are such that he will be impacted for the rest of his life.

"You did this, and knew you had done it and you could have saved an awful lot of people a great deal of additional suffering.

"I accept that you did not set out to cause these terrible, terrible injuries, but these matters could have been explored much sooner if you had the guts to admit what you had done."

She jailed him for three years and nine months.