This story contains graphic descriptions of child abuse.

'I don't want to end up in jail myself for taking revenge ... I just feel lost.'

A 9-month-old baby was allegedly choked, beaten and had an object "shoved" down his throat in a brutal attack that left him hospitalised for more than a week.

When the little boy was taken to hospital his family said he had lacerations around his mouth, welts on both sides of his head, multiple cheekbone fractures, a torn bottom lip and tongue and facial grazes.

His eyelids were so swollen that the baby could barely open them.

The baby's father has been charged with the attack earlier this year and released on bail - to the disgust of the mother's family.

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The baby's maternal grandfather spoke to the Herald on Sunday about the attack on the condition of anonymity.

He said the attack happened on a morning in January but the grandfather says the baby was not taken to hospital for "hours".

When he was notified of the little boy's injuries he rushed to his bedside and was horrified at what he saw.

"I dropped to on my knees and cried... I had never seen a baby like that and I don't ever want to see it again," he said.

"He was bashed up and beaten up and cut up, the hospital staff told me it's one of the worst cases of abuse of a child."


When he got to the hospital his grandson was on a drip as he could not use his mouth to eat.

"His little eyes were half closed, they were so swollen.

"They said he'd been strangled and he had marks under his chin, like he'd been scraped across the carpet."

"He was just 9 months old at the time, I was devastated."

Photographs show the child soon after the attack, bloodied, swollen and bruised.

Another shows him in his grandfather's arms at the hospital, sleeping but his injuries still visible.

The boy and his mother left their town and are in hiding after the accused was granted bail.

The grandfather said he now has to keep his gate locked and has had an alarm installed in case the accused tries to come to his property.

He and his family fear the accused and are upset that he was released on bail so close to them.

"That's just not right, we are all pretty angry about it," he said.

"I don't want to end up in jail myself for taking revenge... I just feel lost."

The Herald on Sunday has chosen not to name the small town where the family live or the court where the baby's father appeared.

He faces charges injuring with intent, wounding with intent and assault with a weapon.

In addition he is facing six unrelated charges of male assaults female.

Victim advocate Ruth Money called on the police "urgently appeal" the decision to bail the man.

"[This decision] is completely out of touch with both society's expectations regarding safety let alone current bail legislation," she said.

"Once again the police have done great work to protect both the victims - and the community - and bring a violent offender to account and yet [their pleadings have been ignored]."

Victim advocate Ruth Money. New Zealand Herald photograph by Dean Purcell
Victim advocate Ruth Money. New Zealand Herald photograph by Dean Purcell

Money said in her opinion the decision to bail the baby's father was "appalling".

Police refused to comment on the case while it was before the courts.

The grandfather said the little boy had recovered from his physical injuries.

"But he has nightmares," he said.

"He's like a little helicopter in his sleep, he spins around all the time.

"I know it's going to affect him for the rest of his life, it's so sad because he's a cool little dude."

If it's an emergency and you suspect a child is at serious risk, or a crime against a child has been committed this must be reported.

Call 111 immediately.

Otherwise call your local police station or the Child Abuse Prevention Parent Helpline -
staff there are able to offer not only immediate help but also information, referral, and on-going support to those affected by child abuse, concerned about the welfare of a child or needing family or parenting support. They can be reached on 0800 568 856.

For more information visit the Child Matters website.