A computer gamer admitted abusing his son and leaving him in a "critical" condition, while playing a violent video game.
Waipukurau man Devon Ashley Bird, 21, appeared in Napier District Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to ill-treating a child and causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard.
On November 1, 2013 Bird's partner and mother of the nearly five-week-old baby boy, spent the night caring for her son at their Central Hawke's Bay home.
She woke Bird about 6.30am and asked him to care for their baby, who was asleep in a bassinet, so she could have a few hours rest, court documents said.
Between the window of 6.30am and 10am, while the baby was in his sole care, Bird caused what a doctor said was "non-accidental trauma and extremely unusual for a five-week-old infant".
It was also during this period that Bird, who is studying computer science at EIT, began playing the graphic video game The Walking Dead.
The game is described online as a "survival game in the midst of a zombie apocalypse". Bird was due to attend EIT in Taradale at about midday on November 1 and phoned his son's grandmother about 10am, asking if she could look after the baby.
The grandmother arrived at the home at 10.40am and Bird told her his son had suffered a bruised eye because he had "punched himself".
She checked the baby boy, and immediately noticed he had a bruise under both his eyes and across the bridge of his nose.
"She became concerned and continued to observe [her grandson] who appeared to be distressed," court documents revealed.
She noticed pink spots on his cheek, and noticed the colouring of the marks appeared to be "darkening and had turned to a purple colour".
On examination the baby appeared unusually floppy and weak.
He was taken to the family GP at 1pm, before being taken immediately to Hawke's Bay Hospital.
At that stage the doctor noted the baby had a bulging fontanelle and also suspected he may have meningococcal meningitis or septicaemia.
X-rays revealed a large fracture to his skull, along with more than 20 other fractures all over his body, leaving him in a "critical" condition.
He was transferred to the intensive care unit at Auckland's Starship Hospital by air later that day.
"CT scans confirmed a significant injury to his skull and brain resulting in heavy bleeding," court documents said.
He then underwent numerous operations to control blood loss and swelling to his brain.
Further x-rays and scans were obtained and a further 30 fractures were found, eight to the boy's ribs, several to both thighs, both lower legs, shoulder and his pelvis.
He also had a lacerated spleen.
Starship Hospital doctors and paediatricians described the fractures as being at "various stages of healing" and therefore were caused at different times of the boy's life.
"All the fractures were consistent with non-accidental trauma and extremely unusual for a five-week-old infant."
Bird stated he had not deliberately caused any of the injuries to his son, and said he had been very tired since the boy's birth.
He added he "may have fallen asleep whilst sat in a lazy-boy and [his son] may have fallen onto the floor".
Bird told police he regularly relieved his son of gas by using a technique he found on the internet.
He explained he would place the boy on his back, holding his legs and pushing them up and into his stomach.
He said he used considerable force and "knew that [his son] was in pain and even stopped breathing at one stage".
He also admitted he had accidentally fallen into a coffee table causing a TV remote control unit to hit the boy on his head.
Judge Bridget Mackintosh remanded Bird on bail until his sentencing on December 19.