A former nurse who dropped a baby and fractured his skull while “out of it” with drink, avoided a jail sentence today.
After walking to a local shop for more alcohol, Rachel McIntyre picked up the infant by his ankles with one hand and dropped him head-first on to the pavement.
McIntyre, c/o 14 Edgemoor Park, Balloch, near Inverness was looking after the four month old child in June last year when the horrifying incident was witnessed by neighbours, Inverness Sheriff Court was told yesterday.
McIntyre, 38, had taken the baby in a push-chair to a local shop to buy a half bottle of vodka when residents in the Kinymlies area of Inverness heard the sound of a distressed baby.
Fiscal depute Roderick Urquhart said: “They looked out of their garden and saw she was holding the baby by his ankles over her left shoulder and had her other hand on the pushchair.
“One of the witnesses turned to his wife and said ‘She is going to drop the wean.’
“They then saw her drop the baby and he fell on to the road surface. It seems that McIntyre phoned an ambulance and by the time it arrived, the baby was back in its wheelchair.
“The witnesses said she was ‘Out of it.'”
Mr Urquhart added: “The child was taken to hospital where it was discovered it had an 11cm (4.3in) fracture of the left side of its skull. There were no internal injuries and the child has since made a full recovery. The baby spent a few days in hospital.
“When interviewed by police, McIntyre denied she had held the baby by the ankles and dropped him. She told officers that the child had fallen out of the pushchair and bounced.”
McIntyre appeared for sentence after admitting at an earlier hearing the wilful ill-treatment of the child while under the influence of alcohol on Lawers Way in Inverness on June 16 last year.
A background report had been prepared and defence lawyer Duncan Henderson produced several references and medical reports on his client for Sheriff Margaret Neilson to consider.
He said: “She had been a nurse and was well thought of by her colleagues. The likelihood is that she will no longer be allowed to practice as a result of this offence.
“She has struggled with alcohol in the past and did very well to get back to practising professionally.
“But in 2014 she suffered a triple whammy. One of her two sons was diagnosed with epilepsy, her father was seriously injured in a road accident and she had a premature baby.
“She found it difficult to cope and turned to alcohol again. When I met her in the cells the following day, her first question was: ‘How’s the wee boy?’
“She has not been drinking since and has been receiving help and treatment. She is very contrite and knows she was wrong.”
McIntyre was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work as an alternative to custody.
She refused to comment after the case as she left court with family members.