Nathan Rawlings Jailed For 10 Years

A man who attacked a month-old baby has been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Read details of the trial below, but here is the latest statement from the Kent Safeguarding Children Board

Maggie Blyth, Chair of Kent Safeguarding Children Board, said:

"Serious injuries suffered by any child or young person are distressing and I would like to express my own sadness today as to the experience that Antonio had endured.

"This was not a case where the Kent Safeguarding Children Board was required by law to carry out a review because there was no suggestion that the agencies involved had failed in their duty to work together to protect Antonio. However, it was decided that, due to the serious injuries inflicted on the child, a multi-agency management review should take place.

 "This review has found that Antonio's injuries could not have been predicted or prevented. Prior to this incident, there was very little contact between the family and any police, health or social care agencies and there was no suggestion of any child protection issues relating to the family.

 "After Antonio's injuries were discovered, the multi-agency response was rapid and thorough and all agencies made time to meet, share information, plan and work together to manage a difficult situation.

 "The review did not identify any significant weaknesses in the agencies' response.  The Kent Safeguarding Children Board will continue to ensure that agencies put the safety and welfare of the children in Kent at the heart of everything they do."

Trial report from Monday

Nathan Rawling, 36, formerly of St Gregory's Crescent, Gravesend, subjected the infant to a violent assault, causing numerous fractures and bruises.

He was found guilty on Monday (4 February 2013) by a jury after a three-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

Rawling was arrested after the baby boy was rushed to Darent Valley Hospital in respiratory arrest on 1 December 2011.

After examination, the infant was found to have multiple and life-threatening injuries, including 26 rib fractures, a fractured right arm and fractures to both clavicles, as well as numerous bruises. As a result of the trauma to his chest, he suffered punctured lungs and had to be resuscitated, as he was not breathing.

Rawling claimed the baby had stopped breathing and he had to perform CPR on the child, which resulted in the injuries sustained, but officers and hospital staff doubted his story and he was arrested on suspicion of assault hours after arriving at the hospital.

The baby was transferred to Kings College Hospital in London, where he spent more than a month in a serious condition.

But after dedicated work by medical professionals, he made an excellent recovery and was released from hospital on 3 January, 2012.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Pritchard of the Operational Public Protection Unit welcomed the verdict.

He said: 'This was an extremely serious assault on an innocent baby boy. In my service I have not seen such extensive injuries on such a young child.

'It was a case that shocked the public and caused considerable community tension in Gravesend.

'The infant, who was just 31 days old, suffered incredible trauma, which arguably should have cost him his life or at the very least left him with long-term medical problems.

'However, thanks to the excellent work of the doctors and nurses at Darent Valley Hospital and Kings College Hospital, he not only survived the attack but is now doing well.

'Rawling is a bully who took out his anger in the most cowardly way possible when he assaulted this baby and it is satisfying to see that justice has been served.

'I would like to take this opportunity to thank officers for their tireless investigation into this both tragic and disturbing case, and to praise medical staff who not only saved the infant's life but helped to convict his attacker through their evidence. Cases like this are incredibly traumatic and difficult for those working on them, and those involved were professional to the last, allowing us to gather the best possible evidence to put before the court.

'I would also like to acknowledge the Gravesend community who held vigils and sent hundreds of letters and well-wishes to the baby.

'I cannot overestimate the devastating impact this assault has had on the community and would like to thank them all for staying calm and keeping the focus on the child's recovery rather than his attacker.'

Prosecutor Simon Ringrose from Crown Prosecution Service's South East Complex Casework Unit said: 'The baby, who was only a month old, was subjected to what can only be described as a frenzied, brutal and repeated assault by Nathan Rawling, which left him with life-threatening injuries.

'It is down to the swift and expert intervention of the doctors and nurses at Darent Valley Hospital that he survived this attack.

'It is also thanks to the evidence of some of these medical professionals that the CPS was able to prove to the jury that these injuries could not have been inflicted accidentally, would have caused the baby acute distress and were intended to cause serious harm.'

Rawling will serve a minimum of five years in prison.