A county Armagh man punched a defenceless toddler because he wanted to watch X Factor in peace.
In October 19, 2014, Darren Fagan, 29, formerly of Portadown, assaulted the two-year-old girl in Bessbrook, leaving her with life-changing injuries.
Belfast Crown Court heard how Fagan, who had just recently met the toddler’s mum, had been drinking from 1.30pm on the day of the incident.
The Irish News reports how the toddler’s father had dropped her off on the Sunday but became unsettled in the evening when put to bed.
But after going to the kitchen to look for child medicine, the baby’s mother said she noticed Fagan had gone upstairs and that her daughter “stopped crying”, that she heard a “sudden noise…like a thud.”
A police officer later tried to resuscitate the lifeless child with mouth-to-mouth before being rushed to hospital.
Initially the child taken to Daisy Hill Hospital but was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where she was put into a medically induced coma when doctors discovered she had sustained multiple skull fractures and was suffering bleeding onto her brain.
Expert reports have indicated that the little girl had suffered “permanent injuries”.
The court heard how Fagan told a probation officer that he “punched the child as she would not stop crying” as he sat and watched X Factor on television.
Fagan has priors for assaulting a 20-month-old child from a previous relationship.
He pleaded guilty to the charge of grievous bodily harm with intent and will be sentenced on June 9.
Fergal Keenan – SONI Agricultural Liaison Officer
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