Hatfield man jailed after not using car seat for baby

PUBLISHED: 16:05 14 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:28 15 November 2016

Hatfield van driver jailed

Hatfield van driver jailed

Archant

A Hatfield man who left a 10-month-old baby boy precariously perched on the front seat of his van and not strapped into a car seat has been jailed for 14 weeks.

That evening, at the end of the journey, the child had stopped breathing and couldn’t be revived.

But Frank Brinkley, 39, admitted that during the drive from Hatfield to St Albans he had not strapped the child in.

Today at St Albans crown court he pleaded guilty to cruelty to a person under 16 by his neglect of the toddler that night.

The court was told that Brinkley, of Stockbreach Road in Hatfield, knew the single mother of the little boy and would often help her with the child and his siblings.

One thing he would do from time to time in an attempt to soothe the baby off to sleep was to take it out in his van that he used for collecting scrap metal.

The court heard how, on the evening on Sunday June 1 2014, Brinkley took the little boy for a drive in his van to the St Albans area while he looked for scrap to collect.

Judge Marie Catterson, hearing the case, was told that roadside cameras even caught the moment when the van drove over some speed bumps with the child clearly visible on the front seat and not strapped in.

Later that evening, the court was told, Brinkley discovered the toddler had stopped breathing.

He made a frantic phone call to the child’s mum and tried to administer CPR.

Brinkley drove back to the mother’s home in Hatfield and, despite the emergency services attending the address, nothing could be done to save the boy.

Judge Catterson was told the cause of the child’s death was “unascertained” but, during a post mortem, “healing fractures” were found on the tot’s wrist, ankle and lower leg.”

The court was told that a photo found on Brinkley’s phone which had been taken some weeks earlier, showed the baby in the footwell of a vehicle.

Passing sentence, the judge told Brinkley she was not sentencing him for the broken bones found on the baby or his “untimely death”.

She said it was obvious that during the evening when he had taken the baby out, the child had been left unattended inside the vehicle from time to time.

The judge told him: “It’s clear you knew perfectly well he should have been in a car seat.”

She jailed him for 14 weeks and disqualified him from driving for six months.

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