Couple who left injured baby in pain because they had theatre tickets avoid jail

A heartless couple who left a baby in excruciating pain with a broken thigh for days – because they chose to watch Disney on Ice instead – have been spared jail.

Mark Watson, 44, and Lorraine Donnan, 40, said they "spent a lot of money on tickets" so decided to take a three-year-old girl also in their care to the performance instead of rushing the 11-week-old baby to hospital.

A court heard he was not seen by doctors until six days after tumbling off a sofa at their home in Thornliebank, Glasgow, and spent that time vomiting heavily, crying more often and heavily bruised.

But Watson and Donnan were both handed a one-year community payback order as a "direct alternative to custody" at Glasgow Sheriff Court today after admitting wilfully neglecting the baby and failing to get medical attention.

Sentencing the duo, Sheriff Paul Crozier said: "This was a serious matter and I will bring it to an end today with the imposition of a community payback order because the offence is serious enough to warrant that."

The couple will each complete 150 hours of the supervised unpaid work.

The court heard callous Donnan was watching the baby on April 26, 2016, and "momentarily" left him on the sofa, not thinking he could move.

But he fell onto the floor and and was described as "making purring noises but had then settled for a few minutes and taken his bottle as normal".

She later told her partner what happened.

Mark Allan, prosecuting, said: "For the following few days the baby had vomited after feeding, which was unusual for him, and he had cried more than usual.

"The accused did not attribute this to the fall from the couch."

On April 29, Donnan suggested taking him to be seen by a doctor but Watson "convinced" her that it was not necessary and he would not be able to get cover for his job as a green keeper at short notice.

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Mr Allan added: "On the morning of May 1, on bathing the baby, both Watson and Donnan noticed his right leg to be swollen and bruised.

"This was the first time he had been bathed since falling from the couch.

"He also seemed to be in a lot of pain on moving his right leg and was unsettled on being picked up.

"They decided that they would arrange to have him medically examined, but decided to postpone for a day.

"The primary reason for this decision was that Donnan had already purchased two tickets to go to a Disney on Ice show."

When interviewed by police, Watson described having "spent a lot of money on the tickets", a sum the court heard was £40.

Donnan also told police her partner had a day off on May 2.

The child was seen at hospital and a consultant heard about his fall from the couch.

An X-ray showed a fracture to his right thigh bone and he was given painkillers.

He was put in a harness to immobilize his leg and kept in until May 6.

On May 14 the couple were detained and Donnan said: "I didn’t do anything, he fell off the couch. I am not an abuser at all, I was through in the other room, I am not an abuser I didn’t do anything."

During his police interview, Watson said the leg had a swelling which they thought would go down and admitted knowing the baby was badly injured on May 1.

He said "I just thought it would wait ’til the next day" but also admitted: "I should have put him first ahead of the tickets".

Gerry Brown, defending Watson, said his client has shown "remorse and concern" for what happened.

The court also heard Donnan has co-operated at each stage and that the length of time the case has taken has had an impact on her.

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