A Moray nursery worker left a nine-month-old covered in bruises after being put in charge of babysitting the infant.
A court heard yesterday that the injuries Jenna Paterson inflicted were so severe that the youngster had to be taken to hospital in Aberdeen for medical checks.
The 21-year, who was working at RAF Lossiemouth’s childcare centre, claimed she did not mean to cause the baby any harm but had been “reckless” while changing a nappy.
Fiscal Kevin Corrins told Elgin Sheriff Court that the infant’s parents knew Paterson through the nursery, and asked her to look after the child while they went to a party on Saturday, December 12.
The court heard that Paterson contacted the child’s father to tell him the baby was “acting up”.
Mr Corrins said: “At about 8pm, the father received a Facebook message from the accused saying that the baby had been ‘very unsettled’.
“However, the man’s phone signal was too poor to reply, and it was only after leaving the party that he realised the accused had tried phoning 10 times between 8.30pm and 11.30pm.
“When they called back, Paterson told them that the infant had been scratching her own arm during the evening.”
The accused was invited to stay over at the family home that night, and the following morning the extent of the child’s injuries became apparent.
Mr Corrins added: “When the mother was changing the child’s nappy she found bruising to her right thigh, and both arms.
“The parents had bathed the child at 5pm the previous night, and there were no bruises at that time.”
Paterson initially denied any knowledge of the injuries, and the infant was taken to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin to have the bruising checked.
Doctors were so worried they advised the couple to take their baby to the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital for further examination.
By Thursday, December 17, police investigating the case concluded that Paterson had caused the injuries and officers questioned her.
Mr Corrins said: “She accepted she had been rough with the child, and that she had pushed down and placed too much pressure on the infant’s arms.
“She said the bruise on the baby’s leg was caused while the nappy was being changed, and accepted she had been quite aggressive while the infant was wriggling and trying to get free.
“The accused said she used ‘quite hard force’.”
Paterson, of 6 Dunphail Place, Burghead, admitted a charge of assaulting the baby by applying pressure to and grabbing the infant’s arms and back, and right leg.
Her agent, solicitor David Adam, said she was a first offender whose hopes for a career in childcare had been dashed by the incident.
Mr Adam said: “My client did not intend to hurt the child, but accepts that she acted with reckless disregard.
“She had hoped for a career in childcare, but appreciates that is no longer an option.”
Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov ordered Paterson to complete 135 hours of unpaid work over the next six months.
She added: “You have acted recklessly, as opposed to deliberately setting out to hurt this child.
“I’m prepared to accept that this was not in your usual character.”
Paterson left the RAF Lossiemouth nursery shortly after the incident and is now working at a hotel in Elgin.