Failed father who chose drugs ahead of baby son’s safety jailed

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A man who chose his “self-indulgent drugs lifestyle” ahead of his baby son, who died when a five-stone TV set fell on his head, has been jailed.

Edward Hanratty, 41, had passed out through alcohol and drugs on a kitchen floor when the child’s mother Natalie McMillan, 25, knocked over the television while she too was under the influence.

Four-month-old Kian McMillan died from catastrophic head injuries he suffered as he lay on a changing mat at the family home in Burnley, Lancashire, when his mother tried to plug in a scart lead to watch a DVD.

Sentencing Hanratty to 10 months in prison for child neglect, the Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC, said the defendant had “failed lamentably” as a father.

“It was abundantly clear that you and your partner were in no fit state to look after your child that night,” he said.

“Over the short life of your child you gave priority to yourself and your self-indulgent drugs lifestyle and neglected the life of Kian.

“You failed lamentably. You should have protected Kian from his mother’s neglect.”

In January, McMillan, of Clarendon Road, Leeds, was imprisoned for 15 months after she admitted neglect over the incident in December 2011. She was cleared of manslaughter by a jury.

Hanratty, of Dirkhill Road, Bradford, also pleaded guilty to child neglect during the trial after giving his evidence, which Judge Russell described as “a very poor display in the witness box”.

He failed to turn up for the sentencing in January at Preston Crown Court because he said he had no money for his train fare from Bradford. He was later arrested and remanded in custody where yesterday he was also sentenced to an additional three years in prison for conning a 91-year-old man from Bradford out of his life savings.

Hanratty drained nearly £30,000 from his victim to feed his drug addiction, the court heard.

He had befriended the pensioner some 15 years earlier when randomly knocking on his door and asking for financial help.

They became friends but as the years went by Hanratty became more persistent in asking for money. In 2007 he was jailed for 30 months for dishonesty offences in which he duped another elderly victim out of money.

He used that conviction to trick the 91-year-old out of more money as he lied that he needed to pay hefty compensation sums and court costs to save him from more time in jail.

James Bourne-Arton, defending, said the offence of child neglect was directly as a result of his “long-standing drug addiction which is clearly the root of all of his offending”. His addiction had led him into a “hopeless situation” over the last 10 years, he added.

Recently Hanratty had been the victim of “a serious assault” at his home following the publicity of the case involving his son’s death, said Mr Bourne-Arton.