A woman suspected of inflicting 'appalling and horrific' injuries on a baby boy escaped a jail term today after a legal loophole meant serious charges had to be dropped.
The 10-week-old boy, whose identity is protected by law and is known only as Child A, was in the care of Chantelle Raschid, 20, and her partner, asylum seeker Nicholas Muhanza, 22, when he suffered catastrophic injuries leaving him permanently brain damaged and blind.
Child A, who 'cried until he had no more tears' was taken to hospital semi-conscious, but when examined by doctors they discovered he had multiple fractures to his skull, both collarbones, five ribs were broken as were the bones of both upper and lower arms and legs
But because it could not be proved that either, acting alone or together harmed the child directly, charges had to be dropped against them for inflicting the injuries.
Doctors could not say who was looking after the child at the time the injuries were inflicted - though both cared for Boy A and some of the injuries were weeks old, the court was told.
Instead Raschid, from Openshaw, Manchester, was convicted of lesser charges after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to a single assault of picking up the child by its arm and a single count of neglect.
Today she walked free from court after being given an eight month jail sentence, suspended for two years
. A formal not guilty verdict was entered on the charge that she harmed the child.
Muhanza, 22, was cleared of neglect
following a two week trial in April.
Passing sentence Judge David Hernandez told Raschid: 'I have to sentence you not for causing or being involved in causing these injuries but for essentially failing to seek timely medical attention for him and also for grabbing his arm.
'There were no admissions from you that either you or Nicholas Muhanza caused or witnessed these injuries.
'There was, therefore, no evidence either of you caused the injuries, or were present at the time, that led to the prosecution being compelled to offer no evidence on allegations that you or Nicholas Muhanza caused the more serious injuries.
'They must have been inflicted while being cared for by either or both of you, but because of the imprecision of the timing of the injuries one could not say who was looking after him at the particular time.'
The child would not stop crying and, after she 'sat around watching films to the early hours'
Raschid took him to Manchester Royal Infirmary in the early hours of July 3, 2007, where he spent a week on a life support machine
The child was 'unresponsive', struggling to breath and had a lump on his head.
Doctors found the skull was fractured in several places, including above both ears and bleeding had led to the death of some brain tissue.
They also discovered his ribs were broken along with every limb in his body.
Raschid lied to doctors and police, saying he had fallen out of his cot and that another child had harmed him with a toy hammer.