Horror over abused toddler

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Doctors have spoken of their horror at having to treat a two-year-old girl who had been indecently assaulted by a 24-year-old man.

Jaimi Watt pleaded guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday to the attack which left the toddler in need of an operation.

The little girl was taken to the Sick Kids by relatives and kept her eyes shut for 24 hours in the wake of the ordeal in March.

Advocate depute Alison Di Rollo told the court: “Police and medical staff who were present as events unfolded speak of a distinct feeling of mutual shock in the examination room, of recoiling as her injuries became apparent and of having difficulty keeping emotions in check.”

A consultant paediatrician said she had never seen such a seriously traumatised child.

The child was found to have an adult human bite mark on her right thigh, a bruised mouth and swollen lip as well as scratches.

Unemployed Watt, of East Lothian, was left looking after the girl when her mother went to work. Her grandmother arrived to pick the child up for nursery but got a fright when she saw her. The girl was crying very hard and rubbing an eye, said Ms Di Rollo.

The grandmother decided she could not go to nursery and took her to her mother’s home, where it was found she had been injured. The girl was then taken to hospital. The advocate depute said an examination of the assault victim had to be carried out under general anaesthetic because of the child’s distress.

She said consultant paediatric surgeon, Amanda McCabe, who operated on her, described her injuries as “horrific”.

Forensic physician Dr Michael Kaim said the girl would have been in agony because of her injuries. A consultant paediatrician, Dr Dayeel Goh, described the injuries sustained by the child as “terrible”.

Ms Di Rollo told the court: “According to her, her demeanour prior to examination was consistent with her being terrified and shutting the world out. She has never seen such an acutely traumatised child.”

Watt had contacted a friend and told him that the child “had been a nightmare”. He later texted him stating: “They have said they think someone has interfered with her,” before adding, “av no done nothing”.In an effort to trace Watt, police contacted transport firms and issued a description of him.

The day after the attack, a bus driver saw a man fitting the description board his vehicle and pay for a ticket to Wallyford.

Police were alerted and officers stopped the bus at Gullane golf club, and handcuffed Watt. Watt admitted assaulting the child to her severe injury by punching her on the head, biting and scratching her and indecently assaulting her on March 16 this year, when he appeared in court yesterday. The advocate depute said the child was expected to make a full physical recovery but it remained to be seen if she would retain memories of the attack. A relative said she was still wary of men and did not like young men or men with blonde hair.

Defence solicitor advocate John Scott QC said it was a very serious and anxious case and a significant custodial sentence was “inevitable”.

Judge Lord Woolman told Watt: “You have pled guilty to a very grave charge.”

The judge continued the case until next month for a background report and risk assessment on Watt.

Meanwhile, Watt’s mother, Lorraine Watt, has vowed to support her son. She told the Evening News: “He’s my son and I’ll stand by him 100 per cent because he never intentionally hurt that bairn.”

rory.reynolds@edinburghnews.com