A SICK babysitter has been caged after shaking his friend’s five-month-old baby so badly she was left blind and brain damaged.
Stephen Carl Smith, 28, offered to babysit Bayleigh-Lee Taylor so his pal Luke Taylor and his partner Sophie Reed could go on a date night fishing.
The twisted man claimed the little girl had suddenly fallen ill.
Bayleigh-Lee, now aged three, has been left with cerebral palsy, epilepsy causing seizures and spasms, feeding and mobility issues.
Her sight is almost completely gone.
When the parents came home in August 2016 from their date they were horrified to find their daughter “propped up on a chair” and apparently sleeping.
They went to the kitchen but suddenly heard a “piercing cry” and when they rushed back to pick Bayleigh-Lee up she was “limp and lifeless”.
Examinations showed she was left with “life-changing and catastrophic” brain injuries.
‘LIMP AND LIFELESS’
Sophie is her full-time carer and Bayleigh-Lee will never be able to go a regular school because she needs around-the-clock physio, medication, and intensive care.
Smith, Haverfordwest, Wales, denied shaking the baby, but a jury found him guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent at Swansea Crown Court.
In a statement read to court the parents described how their world was “turned upside down” and they were originally accused of being responsible as social services prevented them from seeing Bayleigh-Lee and their two other children.
They said their daughter can now never lead the life she could have because of what Smith did.
The pair added: “We will always be proud of the things she achieves, and we will always be proud of the strong-hearted person she will become.”
Reporting restrictions which were in place during the trial have now been lifted so details can be made public.
Stephen Rees, prosecuting, said the emergency services were called and the baby had to be transferred to a special unit in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
I don’t think we will ever got an apology. I don’t think he is sorry.
Sophe Reed, Bayleigh-Lee's mum
John Hipkin, for Smith, acknowledged the “devastating consequences” for Bayleigh-Lee and her parents, and said given his instructions there was little he could say on his client’s behalf.
Judge Peter Heywood accepted Smith lost his temper when the baby had a tantrum, but his momentary loss of control led to permanent and “catastrophic injuries”.
He sentenced Smith to 10 years – he will serve half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.
After Smith was sentenced, Bayleigh-Lee’s parents said they hoped the case would highlight the issue of “baby shaking”.
Dad Luke, 29, said: “We have spent three-years not really being able to speak about what happened.
“We now have the result we wanted, and the result Bayleigh-Lee needed.
“We want people to know, to be aware, of this type of thing – it is not really talked about.”
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Mum Sophie, aged 27, described the pain of the enforced period of separation from her children following the incident – including “not being there” for Bayleigh-Lee “when she needed me most”.
She said the family had been left not knowing exactly what had happened because Smith continues to deny any wrong-doing.
She said: “I don’t think we will ever got an apology. I don’t think he is sorry.”
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