A thug who subjected a toddler to “systemic” assaults that left the child with bite and punch injuries has been jailed.
Cruel childminder Ryan Lincoln-Dust, 24, claimed an eruption of numerous bite marks were accidental and were caused by the 20-month-old boy “blowing raspberries”.
But medical probes revealed the toddler suffered at least 10 injuries from “crushing teeth” and “hard punches”.
The boy, who was subjected to the cruelty over a month-long period in Dover during 2019, still suffers nightmares and often wakes up screaming “please don’t hurt me”, a court heard.
A 22-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was handed nine months in custody suspended for two years for child cruelty earlier this year, for her part in the abuse.
The child came to the attention of Social Services in January 2019 after medics discovered suspicious bruising during a routine check-up.
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Following his arrest in February, Lincoln-Dust tried convincing the authorities the injuries were accidental or self-inflicted.
When asked how the child’s eye socket had become swollen, the builder claimed: “He must have fallen chasing the cat”.
He added the child would punch himself in the stomach and deliberately bang his head on furniture as a game.
He also alleged one bite mark on the cheek was the result of an accident while “blowing raspberries”.
Speaking of the facial bruising, senior dental surgeon Philip Marsden told Canterbury Crown Court: “This type of human bite injury is caused by the tissues being taken into the mouth and the jaws being consciously closed, creating a crushing force from the teeth.
“The ‘imprints’ are caused by the biting edges of the teeth – both upper and lower at the same time, in a crushing action.
“[Lincoln-Dust’s] account is not a feasible or credible explanation for the injury to the cheek.”
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Doctor Daniel Haynes said: “There are three knuckle shaped bruises in a line running down the posterior side of the cheek in front of the left ear, alongside an area of bruising in front of the left ear.
“These marks are typical of the results of a closed fist punch to the left side of the face.
“The punches were of severe force, causing clear bruising. The bites were caused by deliberate and forceful clamping of the teeth, but not so forceful as to penetrate the skin.
“The slap was forceful enough to cause bruising. All the injuries would have been painful and frightening and would have caused the baby to cry.”
CT scans and blood-works revealed no bones had been broken.
Lincoln Dust, of Tonbridge, pleaded guilty to child cruelty and actual bodily harm before trial this year.
David Langwallner, mitigating, said Lincoln-Dust suffered “personality disorders and issues” after witnessing abuse in his youth.
He said: “He is petrified, he fully knows the gravity of the situation he is in.
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“It was a violent act, it is an unforgivable act against a defenceless child, but it is not a pattern that he has demonstrated in his life up until that point in time.”
Judge Simon James, passing sentence, jailed the 24-year-old for three-and-a-half years.
He said: “You subjected this boy to a series of deliberate and systemic assaults that involved you biting and punching him.
“Far from demonstrating remorse, you continue to focus on your own issues and struggle to come to terms with what you have done.”