Injured baby's father is accused of lying to court
A FATHER accused of assaulting his baby has been branded a 'manipulative man' and accused of lying in court.
Christopher Sheldon, 32, has been accused in the witness box of making up a story to put the blame for his son's injuries on to his estranged wife.
Sheldon told Plymouth Crown Court that only the boy's mother Charlotte could have caused the broken bones and bruises found on Ethan.
Both are on trial on two charges of child cruelty.
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Sheldon, the son of a former childminder, had earlier told the jury that his 24-year-old partner had been violent and aggressive towards him, elbowing him in the face and once even pushing him down some stairs.
Nick Lewin, cross-examining him on behalf of Charlotte Sheldon, said he had never mentioned the incidents to police during his interview.
He added: "I do not accept that Charlotte has ever been violent towards you.
"This is a fiction you have made up."
Sheldon denied this.
Mr Lewin said: "The truth is that you are a manipulative man."
Sheldon said: "No I am not, that is not in my nature."
The court has heard expert medical evidence that Ethan had suffered three broken ribs, a fractured collarbone, a fractured ankle and a broken big toe, caused on several different occasions.
Ethan also had 20 bruises over his body – which doctors concluded could not have been caused accidentally.
The injuries were only uncovered when a health visitor made a routine call to the family home in Sefton Avenue, Lipson, in October 2010, when Ethan was 18 weeks old.
Christopher Sheldon said he only noticed one bruise the day before the health visitor arrived.
Jo Martin, cross-examining him on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service, said the next day he had 20 different marks on his body.
She asked him how the 19 other bruises had "materialised" without him noticing in 24 hours.
Sheldon said: "I cannot explain that, and that is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life."
Miss Martin, said he had said different things at different times and had given different versions of events in criminal and family proceedings.
She said: "You have lied during these proceedings, have you not?"
Sheldon said: "No, I have just been confused."
Christopher Sheldon, of Bridgetown, Totnes, and Charlotte Sheldon, of Sefton Avenue, each deny two charges.
Each is accused of "ill-treating or assaulting" Ethan between his birth in May 2010 and October that year.
The jury was told the offence covered the assaults on the baby.
The pair are also charged with "neglect or exposing" him – failing to seek medical attention for his injuries over the same period.
The trial continues on Monday.