A father will spend almost four years behind bars after shaking his seven-week-old son so violently that he suffered life-threatening injuries.
Lochlan Stuart Rankine, 28, was alone with his son, Bam, at their home in Hamersley in Perth’s north-west when the incident occurred in August 2018.
Bam suffered bleeding to the eyes and brain after he was aggressively shaken, which resulted in him having seizures and having to undergo two surgeries.
Rankine had denied hurting his baby but was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm by a District Court jury and sentenced to three years and eight months in jail, The West Australian reported.
The 28-year-old had instead claimed he had fed Bam a bottle before putting him in his rocker and going to the bathroom – only to return and find his son was not moving.
Rankine called triple 0 and told the operator his son had gone ‘limp’ and was ‘gasping a bit and having trouble breathing’.
Bam was rushed to hospital where he underwent a shunt surgery, which involves inserting a tube into the brain to remove any excess fluid.
The details of what happened to Bam are not clear, but Judge Gary Massey found his injuries were consistent with having been shaken.
He said that Rankine’s actions were ‘most likely borne out of frustration’ but said they had caused ‘significant’ harm.
“It involved the act of shaking a very vulnerable baby. Your actions were a significant breach of trust of your parental responsibility. Because of his age, (Bam) was completely dependent on you,” Judge Massey said.
The judge acknowledged that ‘deep down inside’ Rankine felt remorse for causing the injuries to his son, who he has not seen since being charged, but that the incident was ‘very sad’ for everyone involved.
Rankine’s wife Krystal, who he married after he was charged, and family supported him in court on Tuesday.
Mrs. Rankine snapped during a break in court, yelling at a prosecutor: ‘How dare you stand there and lie about my family.’
She also shouted out ‘I love you’ while Rankine was being taken away
Bam, who is now two-and-a-half-years old, has ‘progressed well’, but medical experts revealed problems may not be identified until he starts school, the court heard.
Rankine’s lawyer, Mark Cuomo, said the family was working to move forward with their lives after the tragic event.
“The best information we have is that Bam is meeting his milestones and is doing well, there’s no need for ongoing medical treatment at this stage so everyone is very hopeful,” he said outside court. He’s a happy, healthy child much-loved by his family. This child has a very caring family wrapped around him and hopefully that will sustain him in his life.”
Rankine will be eligible for parole after serving 22 months.