A former couple have walked free after a toddler suffered 31 injuries while they were looking after him - because it cannot be proved who inflicted them.
The two-year-old tot had areas of bruising and injury to his head, arms, body, buttocks and legs as well as two fractures in one of his hands when he was taken for treatment to the emergency care centre in Washington.
Ross Walmsley, 21, and Demi Gray, 20, were in charge of the boy when he got hurt but both deny inflicting any injuries.
At Newcastle Crown Court the pair pleaded guilty to child cruelty, both on the basis that they were not responsible for harming him.
Prosecutor Julie Clemitson told the court: "They each submitted a basis of plea saying they were not responsible for the injuries.
"The crown cannot say who did."
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.
Mr Recorder Euan Duff said: "The crown accept, and I am bound to sentence you on the basis neither of you has been proved to have caused those injuries.
"How anyone can treat a child of two in that way or allow a child to be treated in that way by someone else is quite beyond those of us who care for children."
'Immobilised with fear'
Miss Clemitson told the court the toddler had obvious multiple injuries, including severe bruising to his face, when he was taken for treatment.
It was claimed the boy had fallen but investigations by medics concluded his injuries were unlikely to be accidental.
In his basis of plea, Walmsley admitted "rough and abusive treatment" of the boy.
Annelise Haugstad, defending, said Walmsley is an "immature man" who has since sought professional help for his problems.
In her basis of plea, Gray admitted failing to protect the boy from ill treatment.
Jane Waugh, defending, said Gray was so afraid of Walmsley during their relationship, which is now at an end, she would at times be "immobilised with fear".