Named and jailed: Dad whose violent shaking left baby son profoundly disabled

Michael Mills
Michael Mills
  • Father had been interrupted playing Call of Duty by infant’s cries
  • Baby left blind and profoundly disabled by attack
  • Legal order banning him being named overturned by The Star
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A father who violently shook his baby son leaving the infant ‘permanently and profoundly disabled’ has been jailed for four years.

The Star can now name 24-year-old Michael Mills after successfully applying to overturn a legal order preventing his identification during a three-week trial.

Judge Julian Goose, Honorary Recorder of Sheffield, said there was a ‘strong public interest’ in his identity being revealed.
The child, who was just four months old when the attack happened, will need lifelong care after being left with cerebral palsy, blindness, epilepsy and severe learning difficulties as a result of the brain damage he suffered.

Mills, of Rotherham Road, Cundy Cross, near Barnsley, was found unanimously guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on his son by a jury earlier this month. The incident happened after he sent his ex-partner, the baby’s mother, out to buy the new Call of Duty video game in November 2012.

Mills had stayed at home in Wombwell and played a previous version of the same game, while drinking strong lager.

His former partner was unanimously found not guilty of causing cruelty by not seeking medical attention in the same trial.

Judge Goose said he was satisfied there had been two incidents on the same day where Mills had shaken the baby, one on the morning of November 12 and the second around midnight while the his partner was out buying Call of Duty.

The following day, the baby’s mother noticed the boy was going ‘purply-blue’ in the mouth.

The baby suffered a number of seizures at Barnsley Hospital on November 13, 2012, and was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

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

Judge Goose told Mills: “At the time he was four months old when you violently shook him, causing him lifelong and profound injuries.

“He needs permanent care and will do so for the rest of his life.

“The consequences of what you did left him profoundly and permanently disabled and deprived him of a full and normal life.

“He expected you as his father to look after him, not cause him injuries.”

Judge Goose said sentencing guidelines meant a sentence of five years was the highest one possible for a crime of this type.

He gave Mills a four-year sentence, two years of which will be served in prison and the second half out on licence.

Mills stared at the floor throughout the sentencing.

Members of the baby’s family, including the child’s mother, were watching from the public gallery as Mills was sentenced.

One called out the sentence was not long enough – but added the family had the ‘champagne on ice’ at the news Mills would be going to jail.

Suzanne Goddard QC, representing Mills, said her client had been 21 when the offence had been committed and had self-harmed following the incident.

“This was a frustrated parent who on one isolated incident shook the child,” she said.

“The effects on Michael’s life and his family have been catastrophic.

“His parents are unlikely to be able to have access to the child. He will have great difficulty in relation to any further relationships.”