A former couple who walked free after a toddler suffered 31 injuries while they were looking after him have been slammed by a child protection charity.
The NSPCC has spoken out after the two-year-old tot suffered bruising and injury to his head, arms, body, buttocks and legs as well as two fractures in one of his hands.
Ross Walmsley, 21, and Demi Gray, 20, were in charge of the boy when he was hurt but both deny inflicting any injuries.
At Newcastle Crown Court the pair pleaded guilty to child cruelty, but they avoided jail as both their pleas were on the basis that they were not responsible for harming him.
The NSPCC has now issued a statement calling the case a "bizarre situation" and urging anyone who suspects a child is at risk of abuse to contact their helpline.
An NSPCC spokesman said: “It is a really bizarre situation where two people have admitted child cruelty yet simultaneously claimed that they ‘were not responsible’ for the toddler’s injuries, therefore escaping jail.
"It is evident that the couple failed to protect the toddler from a catalogue of injuries and turned a blind eye to the child’s pain - something which the recorder rightly acknowledges.
"We just hope that the child is now being given the proper care, attention and support that they truly deserve. Anyone who is worried about a child or just wants advice should contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.”
Walmsley, of Heworth Road, Concord, Washington, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements and 200 hours unpaid work.
Gray, of Coach Road Estate, Washington, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements and 150 hours unpaid work.