Baby attacker Ross Dunn’s sentence reduced to 10 years

Ross Dunn. Picture: Police Scotland
Ross Dunn. Picture: Police Scotland
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A BABY attacker who left a little girl permanently disabled after a terrible murder bid had his prison sentence slashed by appeal judges today.

Ross Dunn was originally jailed for 15 years after the trial judge told him: “This was an inexplicable, horrendous crime committed on a tiny baby.

But Dunn challenged the sentence imposed on him by Lord Malcolm, claiming it was excessive, and judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh quashed the 15-year term and substituted a 10-year prison sentence.

The decision follows earlier appeal rulings reducing prison sentences imposed on men convicted of assaulting babies.

Steven Davidson, 23, of Dumbarton, had a seven and a half year sentence reduced to six years and nine months after he shook a six-week-old child and threw her down on a sofa leaving her requiring constant care.

Stephen Sweeney, 27, of Blantyre, Lanarkshire, had a seven and a half year sentence cut on appeal to five years and three months for a shaking attack on a five-week-old baby boy with devastating consequences.

In Dunn’s case he was convicted of attempting to murder a four-week-old baby at a flat in Edinburgh on November 17 in 2013 following a trial at the High Court in the city last year.

Dunn, 28, formerly of Wester Drylaw Place, Edinburgh, was found guilty of assaulting her to her severe injury and permanent impairment by seizing her by the body, shaking her and striking her against a surface.

The child victim suffered a fractured skull, broken leg, eye damage, bleeding and bruising following the attack. She is now registered blind, has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and will require constant care.

In jailing Dunn Lord Malcolm told him he had left the child “permanently and severely disabled”.

The trial judge said: “She will never be able to enjoy a normal life. It was only thanks to the excellent care and treatment from doctors and other staff at the Sick Children’s Hospital that she survived,” he said.

His trial heard that the baby appeared to be perfectly well when her mother left her to be looked after by Dunn.

Dunn told the mother that he had fallen with the little girl but that she was okay. He denied that he told the mother “I will go to jail for this” when she returned home.

Prosecutor Bruce Erroch told the High Court trial that Dunn was “a man who by his own admission has problems with his temper”.

The child’s mother told the trial: “She is a good little girl, but she has been left with very severe, lifelong disabilities... She will likely never stand, walk, even sit by herself.”

Dunn’s counsel, Donald Findlay QC, told the appeal judges: “In the whole circumstances of this case the sentence falls to be regarded as excessive.”

He said the case involved a single incident and there was no underlying sense of someone being deliberately cruel.

The defence counsel said Dunn was “distraught” at the knowledge that he had caused harm to the child.

“After the trial the contrition expressed by him, I am quite comfortable in saying to the court, was profound and genuine,” he told Lord Menzies and Lady Smith.

Mr Findlay said: “It is a single episode of shaking on a single occasion.”

Lady Smith said in giving the decision to reduce the sentence imposed on Dunn that they bore in mind that in his case the conviction was for a charge of attempted murder, but they also had to have regard to the principle of comparative justice.