A couple accused of battering their eight-month-old son walked free from court today after they both denied inflicting the sickening injuries.
Little Eli Lowery
had a fractured skull and bruising to his forehead, nose, cheek, behind his ear and on his arms and legs.
But his mother, Zara Lowery
, 25, and step-father, Michael Dowse
, 26, both denied being responsible.
Instead they pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of child neglect and were allowed to walk free from Newcastle Crown Court after receiving suspended sentences.
It meant no one was prosecuted for the litany of appalling injuries deliberately inflicted on Eli.
The court was told that Eli's appalling injuries first came to light in March when he suffered a bump on his head. Instead of seeking proper medical help Lowery called NHS Direct.
It was another nine days before she finally took him to see the family GP who was so concerned he referred Eli to hospital where staff uncovered the full extent of his horrific injuries.
They found bruising to his forehead, nose, cheek, behind his ear and on his arms and legs. He also had a cut below his scrotum and other injuries to his buttocks area which could only be caused by 'significant force'.
In view of the bruises, some of which the judge conceded may have been sustained accidentally, Eli was given a CT scan which revealed he also had fractures to his skull
Lowery and Dowse were both charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent but after they both refused to admit responsibility the charge was dropped in favour of the lesser offence.
Robert Adams, prosecuting, said: 'The doctor concluded he (Eli) had significant unexplained bruises and a fracture to his skull. These injuries were likely to have been caused by repeated blows to the head and body.'
Although the prosecution could not say for sure who had inflicted the injuries, Mr Adams said it should have been obvious to both Lowery and Dowse that someone was hurting the child.
'By failing to act to stop this they exposed him to behaviour likely to cause more suffering. There was a series of assaults and these two are both responsible for failing to protect the child.'
Both defendants, who have since split up, claimed they had not realised at the time that the injuries had been deliberately inflicted.
Dowse, 26, of Northcott Gardens, Seghill, Northumberland and Lowery, 25, of Thornley Avenue, Mayfield Dale, Cramlington, were each given 12 month prison sentences, suspended for two years, with supervision
Recorder Jeremy Baker said: 'It was originally alleged these two had caused grievous bodily harm with intent. However, neither of them acknowledge they were responsible or that the other person was responsible for the injuries.
'For good reason the Crown considered they were not in a position where they could prove that original indictment.'
Dowse now has a new partner, who has two children of primary school age
. Eli, now nearly two, has made a good recovery and is living with his maternal grandparents.
Lowery, who still sees him, has since had another child by Dowse
. The baby may also end up with Lowery’s mother.