A VILE babysitter from hell who left a baby permanently brain-damaged has escaped prison.
Shannon Soutter, 23, from Arbroath, Scotland plead guilty to assaulting the six-month-old child in her care, but insisted she was going through struggles with mental health at the time.
Sentencing her, the judge said it was “neither appropriate or necessary” to lock her up.
The 23-year-old attacked the tiny girl over a two month period while apparently looking after her before the child was rushed to hospital in late April 2018.
She was suffering from brain injuries as well as fractures to her skull, ribs and ankle.
The girl’s anxious dad went with his sick daughter in the ambulance while Soutter travelled by car to the hospital.
Prosecutor Ashley Edwards QC told the High Court in Glasgow: “She then discussed she had a hairdressing appointment on the Monday (two days later).
“She was annoyed that she might miss the appointment.”
The child had brain injuries in April 2018 as well as fractures to her skull, ribs and ankle.
She may also have permanent blindness with medics describing her prognosis as “poor”.
A probe was launched by both police and social workers.
Soutter initially claimed she had been “rocking” the child and that she “may” have bumped her head off a table.
She initially claimed she had “no idea” how the brain and rib injuries occurred.
It also emerged she had made an internet search asking “what happens” if a baby is hit.
But, she insisted this was to do with “back slaps” when the child had not been breathing.
The court was told some of the injuries had resulted from “shaking” of the child, with rib fractures caused by “gripping” of the child and leg fracture.
The brain injury was described as “devastating” by medics.
Soutter was today sentenced having earlier pled guilty to assaulting the girl to her severe injury, permanent impairment and to the danger of her life.
Lord Turnbull said Soutter had been struggling with a “history of depression” and other personal issues at the time.
The judge went on: “She punishes herself daily and will continue to do so.
“I think there is little the court can do by way of punishment that is greater than what she has imposed on herself.
“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 circumstances are so unusual that a degree of understanding, and some mercy, leads to the conclusion it is neither appropriate or necessary to impose a custodial sentence.”
Soutter sobbed as she was instead ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work as part of a three-year community payback order.
This also involves her having no unsupervised contact with underage children and to undergo treatment for her mental health issues.
Ronnie Renucci QC, defending, had today urged Lord Turnbull not to jail Soutter.
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He said Soutter had “found it difficult to admit to herself, nevermind others” of her apparent struggles at the time.
Sentencing, Lord Turnbull said the child’s dad had written a moving victim impact statement of how they are coping.
The judge said: “Nothing can be done in this court to alleviate the stress and upset to a father who has the difficult responsibility of providing care for her.”
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