South Yorkshire couple played Call of Duty video game after son suffered brain damage after being shaken, Sheffield court told

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A South Yorkshire couple played the Call of Duty video game while their four-month-old son lay with a severe brain injury, a court heard.

The baby’s 27-year-old mother was queuing up at midnight to buy the game on the day of its release while her boyfriend allegedly assaulted their son.

When the mother returned in the early hours the baby was put to bed and the couple played the game for a couple of hours until they fell asleep, jurors at Sheffield Crown Court were told.

Later that day their son was found to be ‘floppy, pale and unresponsive’ and was ‘clearly unwell’, according to a GP who was called out.

The baby was rushed to hospital and found to have suffered severe brain damage, which the prosecution claim was caused by the 24-year-old father.

He initially claimed the injuries were caused by the tot’s elder brother hitting the infant over the head with his feeding bottle.

But Christopher Tehrani QC, prosecuting, said the father later confessed to the police that he had shaken the baby.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the victim, now two-and-a-half years old, survived but is severely brain injured.

His parents, from the Dearne Valley area, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have both gone on trial, with the father accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm and the mother charged with cruelty by not seeking medical attention.

Mr Tehrani said following the alleged assault the baby suffered a number of seizures at Barnsley Hospital on November 13, 2012 and was transferred to Sheffield Childrens’ Hospital.

Scans showed bleeding and swelling on the brain and bleeding to the spine.

Doctors believed the injuries were non-accidental and called the police.

The prosecution say the injuries were caused by the father shaking the baby some time before the child collapsed.

The father gave officers several different versions over the next seven months of what happened.

In his first interview he said the tot had been unwell since his immunisations a fortnight before. In his second interview he said the baby’s brother hit him over the head with his feeding bottle - something he had done on numerous occasions.

He later blamed Barnsley Hospital and said there had been a cover-up. Then on March 28, 2013 he dialled 999 and left a message for the investigating officer saying he had shaken the infant, the court heard.

In her police interviews the mother said her son had trouble breathing twice on the afternoon before the alleged assault and then refused his milk.

She said she had queued up for the video game and returned home after midnight before playing it with her boyfriend for a couple of hours.

“Whilst playing the game the baby was asleep upstairs and we were listening through a baby monitor,” she said.

In a later interview she told police the father had texted her on February 26 saying ‘I did it’ but later deleted the text.

Mr Tehrani said: “The prosecution case is that the baby was subject to an unlawful assault and his collapse was due to trauma on the brain caused by the father while he was on his own.”

He said the mother had neglected the child by not seeking immediate medical help the day before the tot’s collapse and on the day of the incident.

The trial continues.