AN ‘INADEQUATE’ father broke up to six bones in his newborn’s body in separate incidents when the ‘red mist descended’.

Ryan Briston, 27, later admitted to detectives that he’d picked his then three-month-old boy by the wrist on one occasion, bit the child’s shoulder on another and grabbed his limbs on other occasions.

But his admission came months after doctors at the John Radcliffe Hospital spotted the five fractures and one suspected fractured shoulder blade when the baby was rushed to A&E in August 2020 after his father discovered the child unresponsive and turning blue at the couple’s home in Stanford-in-the-Vale.

Doctors suggested the injuries were consistent with the child being 'shaken or swung'.

The baby and his toddler sister were taken from the care of Briston and their mother for nine months before the children were returned to the mum’s custody.

In a heart-wrenching victim personal statement read to the court by prosecutor Julian Lynch, the baby’s mother listed her son’s ‘firsts’ that she had missed as a result of their not being together. They included ‘his first laugh, his first word, his first time sitting up, his first time tasting food’.

Her weekly visits during the nine months apart were brief. “I cannot begin to explain how heart-breaking it was to see my children once a week for an hour…not even being able to kiss them goodbye due to the covid restrictions.”

She described the baby now as a ‘wonderful, beautiful, thriving little boy’, but who had been ‘very apprehensive and nervous’ when he was initially returned to her care. She worried what her older child may have witnessed of Briston’s assaults, with the girl telling her of ‘bad Ra-Ra’ – the defendant’s nickname.

The woman spoke of seeing old photos of her son as a baby, describing his ‘hollow’ eyes.

Summarising the offending, Judge Ian Pringle QC described Briston as a ‘wholly inadequate father [who] lost his temper as the red mist came down’. He added: “It wasn’t a deliberate, calculated programme of deliberate inflicting of injuries.”

Sending him to prison for two years and four months, the judge said: “I cannot ignore the fact in this case there were multiple injuries. This was not just one episode but at least two if not more episodes where you injured your own son.”

Mitigating, Robert Lindsey said his client was a ‘remorseful, ashamed and frightened man’.

The first-time dad had been working night shifts at a hotel at the time of the assaults and was ‘feeling stressed’. He was said to have had anger management issues.

Briston, now of Milton Common, near Thame, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to ill-treating a child. He had no previous convictions.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

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