Toddler fights for life: 'It's just devastating'

By Cherie Taylor -
The home at 14 George Street in Masterton, where it is believed Caleb Skinner, 2, was allegedly assaulted.
The home at 14 George Street in Masterton, where it is believed Caleb Skinner, 2, was allegedly assaulted.

A two-year-old Masterton child is fighting for his life after receiving life-threatening injuries during an alleged assault by an adult.

Caleb Skinner was airlifted to Starship Hospital in Auckland on Monday night with serious head injuries following the assault at a George St address that night.

His parents, Joanne Smith and Daryll Skinner, are holding vigil at their son's bedside waiting for him to awake from an induced coma to help reduce swelling of his brain.

A man known to the family has been arrested and charged with assaulting the child.

Ms Smith said she was at work on Monday when she got a call to say her son was being rushed to hospital with serious head injuries.

She was devastated he had been hurt.

"I just can't believe it.''

Mr Skinner said Caleb was a fighter but was very concerned about the toddler's current condition.

"He's normally so full of life. It's just devastating.''

Along with the head injury, Caleb had bruises over his entire body, Mr Skinner said.

"He's sedated because there is too much bleeding from the brain at the moment. He's on machines which are breathing for him ... it's not good.''

When Caleb was first taken to hospital he responded for a short time, touching his nose and trying to reach out, his father said.

"It hasn't been good since then.''

Hospital visits are not unknown to the toddler, who has undergone surgery more than once for a bowel condition he was born with.

A 39-year-old Masterton man appeared before Judge Tom Broadmore in Masterton District Court this afternoon on a charge of assaulting a child. He wore a white police-issue boiler suit and stood staring towards the front of the courtroom throughout his appearance.

Judge Tom Broadmore granted interim name suppression and the man was remanded in custody by consent . He is due back in court on March 17.

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