A teenage mum who caused severe brain damage to her six-week-old son has walked from Court after a judge took pity on her.

The youngster is expected to suffer mental and physical disability for the rest of his life, but Judge Geoffrey Kamil decided the boy's 17-year-old mother should not be sent into custody.

The teenager, who gave birth to the premature boy last April when she was only 16, admitted shaking the baby on two occasions when he was crying and would not feed.

But Judge Geoffery Kamil told the mum, who cannot be named for legal reasons: "The public usually demand retribution for acts such as this, but sometimes giving the public what perhaps they think or expect isn't necessarily the answer to a problem.''

Imposing a three-year probation order Judge Kamil said the case had involved one of the most heart-rending family histories he had heard in 30 years.

Bradford Crown Court heard how the boy was referred to the city's St Luke's Hospital in May last year after the teenager had taken the baby with her on a visit to her doctor.

Prosecutor Roger Thomas said the doctor became concerned after the child made "jerky movements'' and when he was examined in hospital he was found to be suffering from bleeding around his brain. The injury was diagnosed as survivable but likely to result in significant brain damage.

The baby's mum, who pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and child neglect, initially denied shaking the youngster and even suggested her younger brother and sister may have handled the boy roughly.

Barrister Michelle Colborne described how her client, from the Scholemoor area, had never had a childhood and saw pregnancy as a way of getting out of her environment.

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