A firefighter accused of two acts of cruelty against a baby boy has had one of the charges against him dropped midway through his trial.
Lewis Mills, aged 28, had been in court over both an arm and a rib fracture sustained by the child – but Judge Peter Watson QC ruled there was ‘not sufficient evidence to justify any conviction’ around the broken rib.
Mills, of Stanley Road, Chapeltown, denies any wrongdoing at all.
Giving evidence in his defence to Sheffield Crown Court yesterday, the firefighter of five years told jurors he co-operated fully with police, and opted against legal advice when he was interviewed, because he was ‘innocent’.
He said: “I didn’t think it would come to this. I didn’t think there was a need for a solicitor to be there. I was trying to help them as much as I could.”
Mills admitted that, when the baby was left with him for around 15 minutes to try to feed him, he was ‘smiling’ – and when the baby left his care he was crying.
He said he spotted the baby’s injured arm after noticing a change in how he was crying.
He said: “I went over and I took his arm and I moved it upwards and it was limp.
“I put him on the floor and undid his babygrow and took his left arm out to see what was wrong with it.”
He said he felt ‘devastated’ that he ‘did not know what was wrong with him’ and ‘just wanted to get him to hospital’ as soon as he could.
He said he was ‘in pieces’ that the child was in pain, and ‘retraced’ his steps to look for any possible incident which could have caused the injury.
He told police he had bent over to pick up a bottle of the baby’s milk from the floor while the boy was in his arms, and that was the only possible ‘explanation’ he could suggest for how the arm had been broken.
The trial continues.