A MAN who punched a newborn baby in the face has insisted that he thought the infant was a doll – but admitted that his actions were “bizarre”.
David Hardy approached five-day-old Elsie Temple as she lay in her carry cot inside a shopping trolley, thumping her as the baby’s mother Amy Duckers looked on in horror.
The 63-year-old man, from Baguley, Greater Manchester, left the baby Elsie Temple in tears and with a red mark to her face.
Hardy yesterday faced court, keeping his head down as his lawyer Chris Fallows tried to defend his client, telling the Manchester magistrates court: “This is an extremely unusual case.
“This defendant (is) effectively a family man who has young children in the family and does not behave in a way that is suggested to this allegation.”
Mr Fallows said: “The crown suggest Mr Hardy deliberately punched a five day old baby to the face in a carry cot in a shopping trolley. The defendant says he believed – and this belief was prior to the incident – that he thought it was a doll.”
He said that the man’s claims that he thought the baby was a doll was backed up by statements given by witnesses to the incident with the man also claiming he told the young child standing next to the shopping trolley.
Mr Fallows said: “After the incident the defendant, who has never been in trouble before, had news reporters arrive at his door. He was hung, drawn and quartered on social media and in the comments on news reports.
“It is conceded by the defendant that what occurred was unusual, bizarre and he acted rather foolishly. The prosecution suggest that this was intentional.”
The court date had been moved forward to today, the eve of Hardy’s 64th birthday, at the request of his lawyers.
Mr Fallows said: “This defendant has been on the verge of suicide and his family will have to go through evidence which is already in their statements. I asked for this case to be moved forwards because Mr Hardy wants it dealt with as quickly as possible.”
Hardy has admitted to throwing the punch but pleaded not guilty to charge of common assault saying he had no intention of hitting a baby. He will face a trial at the JPs court next month.
The baby’s family had been shopping for their dinner about 6pm on September, with the incident unfolding when they saw a neighbour who worked there.
The neighbour called over a friend who had been shopping with her husband – and as she did so the man rushed over and punched Elsie in the face.
Hardy was bailed on condition he does not go to Tescos in Baguley and was told he cannot have unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18. He also cannot contact Elsie’s mother and father.
*Even if the baby looked like a doll,why would he punch a doll?