Drug addict jailed after son, 3, left scarred by fire cruelty

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A father left his three-year-old son scarred for life after deliberately burning him with a naked flame while high on drugs.

A court heard how social services placed the vulnerable youngster and his brother with him despite knowing of his chronic heroin addiction and lengthy criminal record. The father was also recovering from tuberculosis at the time the children were placed with him in 2011.

The father, who cannot be named, was jailed for eight years after pleading guilty to wounding with intent and child cruelty at his flat in Leeds

Leeds Crown Court heard the youngster needed plastic surgery for burns to his hands and his armpits. He was also found to have bruising to his head and face and he had further scratches to his body and genitals.

He had suffered for 20 hours before being taken to hospital.

After his arrest, the father claimed he did not know how he had suffered the injuries. He had coached the boy’s brother to take the blame if questioned.

Nicholas Askins, prosecuting, said: “The Crown cannot say every injury on the boy was as a result of assault, but at least on some occasions he must have assaulted him while the boy was in his care. They were acts of excessive or extreme physical chastisement.”

James Keeley, mitigating, said the father was full of remorse and no longer abusing drugs.

He said: “He is finding it extremely hard not to hate himself for what he has done.”

The barrister added: “It has to be asked that a man with a history of drug abuse, criminal convictions, recovering from TB – instructions all known to the social services – how he was put in that situation.

“Not trying to minimise his criminality at all, but a man of his difficulties being placed to care for vulnerable children must raise questions.”

Jailing him, judge Sally Cahill, QC, said: “In my view this was the most appalling treatment of a very young and vulnerable child.