A mother has launched a fresh bid for justice after a man walked free from court after admitting an attack on her baby daughter.
Rebecca McGuirk, 24, met Dominic James Latham on the dating website Plenty of Fish back in 2015.
But after meeting him for the third time she then discovered a catalogue of injuries on her 18-month-old child’s body.
Amelia-Grace McGuirk had suffered a bite mark to the cheek, a black eye, bruising to the torso, a swollen right hand and swelling to her head.
Latham, 27, admitted causing actual bodily harm to Amelia-Grace on the day his trial was due to begin at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.
But at a hearing last week he was spared jail and given a suspended sentence.
The M.E.N. approached Latham for comment and he denied having assaulted Amelia-Grace, even though he pleaded guilty. Latham, from Oldham, said he was now seeking legal advice on whether he could change his plea.
Meanwhile Rebecca McGuirk has launched a bid to have Latham put behind bars by seeking to have the case put before the Court of Appeal.
The mother-of-two told the M.E.N. the life of her daughter, who is now three, had been ‘ruined’.
“(Latham) showed no sign of being capable of anything like that”, Rebecca said.
“I trusted him because he said he had a daughter himself. He had been to my house a few times, and been on the floor with Amelia-Grace, playing with her toys and making her giggle. I never thought he would’ve done what he did.”
Rebecca told the M.E.N that the night before she discovered the injuries she had left Latham alone with the baby for ten minutes while she was in the bathroom.
She said Latham brought her upstairs and appeared quiet, before storming off when asked why. In the morning, when the injuries were apparent, Rebecca says she found him downstairs on the sofa, where he denied having done anything before leaving. She never saw him again.
“She was only 18-months old, she couldn’t defend herself and was just leaning to talk”, Rebecca said. “Once this happened to her, she went in her own bubble, she was petrified of people. She’s a bit better now, but she’s still got that fear, especially of men.”
Latham was arrested after the November 2015 injuries were reported to police and on February 7 pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm. Last Thursday he was sentenced to 16 months, suspended for two years, with a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
Sentences are at the discretion of judges, and depend on each case’s circumstances. The defendant’s personal circumstances, remorse, mental health and previous character are all typically taken into account.
In an interview with the M.E.N, Latham, who was supported by his current partner, said: “I pleaded guilty and I have never regretted anything more. If I had done something like that I wouldn’t be here now, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.
“On the day of trial it was my birthday, I was low and felt like I just didn’t know what to do. I was being advised different things at different times by lawyers.
“I was worried about the process and thought and that if I got found guilty at the end of it, things would be worse. I categorically know those injuries didn’t come from me.”
He added that he offered police a ‘mould of his teeth’ in the year before he finally pleaded guilty.