Dad jailed for ‘sadistic’ attacks on baby

Joshua Stephens
Joshua Stephens

A Mirfield father carried out a series of “sadistic” assaults on his newborn daughter.

Joshua Stephens, 22, was jailed for four years on Monday and told by a judge that he posed a significant risk to the public.

Leeds Crown Court heard Stephens was violent to the baby from her being born until she was six weeks old when he confessed to his wife that he had hit her.

The court was told that Stephens slapped the girl “as hard as you would hit a man”.

On other occasions he held a pillow over her face and forced her head under water while he was giving her a bath.

After admitting to his wife what he had done, Stephens went to Dewsbury Police Station and told officers he had an overwhelming desire to hurt his daughter.

Stephens, of Crowlees Road, Mirfield, was jailed for four years and told he must serve an extended licence period of four years upon his release after pleading guilty to cruelty to a child and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, told Stephens: “It is obvious that these incidents occurred as a result of your sadistic desire to cause pain and distress to your daughter.

“This was a gross breach of trust on a vulnerable child.”

The abuse came to light on September 4 last year when Stephens hit the youngster “as hard as he could” when she woke up crying for a feed.

The baby was left with a bruised cheek from the blow. Stephen’s wife was out of the room at the time and he admitted what he had done when she returned. Stephens also told his wife’s father about what he had done before going to the police station and telling officers: “I hit my daughter and smothered her.”

Stephens underwent a psychiatric assessment and told a doctor that he had a history of self harming from the age of 14 and had strong urges to punch objects and use knives.

The doctor diagnosed Stephens as suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder and was prone to impulsive and unpredictable behaviour.

Judge Marson added: “There is at the moment a significant risk of serious harm to the public.”