Man found guilty of punching five-day old baby in the head at Tesco
A man who randomly hit a baby in a supermarket has been convicted of assault by beating.
David Hardy, 64, claimed he was "messing about" and thought he was striking a doll when he tapped five-day-old Elsie Temple with "a loose fist" to playfully "wind up" the baby's seven-year-old sister.
But District Judge Sam Goozee, sitting at Manchester Magistrates' Court, dismissed his claim that he thought he had punched a doll as "implausible" and found him guilty.
The incident took place at Tesco supermarket in Baguley, Wythenshawe, on September 5, when Amy Ducker took out Elsie for the first time in public.
The baby was strapped into a car seat and was placed in a small shopping trolley with Ms Ducker's other daughter, Libby, on the opposite side.
Ms Ducker told the court she bumped into her next-door neighbour, who went over to the baby. The neighbour, who worked at Tesco, then called over her colleague Elaine Hardy, to look at the "beautiful baby".
She said Hardy, husband of the Tesco worker, approached and, without warning, punched Elsie in the face and head.
Wiping away tears in court, and screened from Hardy, she said: "He didn't even look in my pram. It was actually the first thing that happened ... It was really bizarre how he approached without saying a word."
She confronted him and she said he denied he had struck her.
Ms Ducker continued: "It was only when he saw he had marked her that he admitted he had done it but then he said he though it was a doll."
Elsie woke up crying after being punched, she said, and when her partner lifted up her pink woollen hat, there was a red mark "the size of an egg".
The child was monitored in hospital overnight before she was released, the court heard.
She said had been left "absolutely distraught" by the incident.
She told the court she did not recall Hardy saying anything to her eldest daughter before the strike.
Giving evidence, Hardy, of Longfield Road, Baguley, said he first assumed it was a doll when his wife's work colleague called them over in "a childish voice" to look at the baby.
He said the seven-year-old girl "looked bored" and he asked her: "Is that your baby?"
He said: "She didn't reply and I said 'I'm going to wake your baby up'.
"I thought it was a doll. I thought it was the little girl's doll. I realise now it was not, but at the time..."
He added: "I was just messing around to lighten the mood."
He conceded it was "wholly inappropriate" and in hindsight there was nothing playful about his actions.
Hardy was fined £900, as well as being ordered to pay £100 compensation plus £500 for the costs of the prosecution.
After the sentence was delivered, Elsie’s grandfather stormed out of the courtroom, calling the decision a ‘f***ing joke mate’.