Man put baby in tumble dryer, Dundee court hears

© DC ThomsonDundee Sheriff Court.
Dundee Sheriff Court.

A mother wept in the witness stand as she recounted how her friend put her baby inside a tumble dryer and turned it on.

The teenage mum, who can’t be named in order to protect the identity of her children, was giving evidence in the trial of Thomas Dunn, who is answering charges of  endangering the youngster’s life.

The mother told Dundee Sheriff Court Dunn, 25, was a friend and that although they had been “intimate” they were not in a relationship.

She said she was washing the dishes in his Arbroath flat on one occasion when he came into the kitchen carrying the infant.

The teenager said Dunn was playing with the 13-month-old and spoke about putting her in the tumble dryer.

She said she thought he was joking but moments later she heard the machine activate, followed by loud thuds as the baby was flung around the drum.

She  said: “I heard a switch going on, then I heard the door close. Then I heard the rotation.

“There were two thuds. I turned around and saw her in it.

“I ran up to the tumble dryer but he got there before me.

“He said he didn’t realise the dryer was on but I heard the switch being turned on. I didn’t believe him.”

The mother said Dunn took the screaming baby out of the machine and ignored her pleas to hand her back the child, showing no emotion.

She said nothing more was said about the incident and she allowed him to look after the baby on another occasion.

The mother added: “I don’t have an answer to that. I was really struggling and I felt at that point he was helping me.”

She said she was with a friend when Dunn sent a message saying “something urgent” had happened to the baby and he later told her the child had woken from a nap “limp”.

The court heard the youngster was taken to hospital, where she was found to have suffered multiple fractures of the skull, a bite mark to the arm and several bruises on her body.

Dunn, of Comrie Crescent, Hamilton, is accused of assaulting the baby to her severe injury and to the danger of her life between December 18 2017 and January 8 2018 at an address in Arbroath.

As well as allegedly putting her in the tumble dryer, he is said to have placed his hand over her mouth and restricted her breathing, struck her on the head and body, repeatedly struck her against an unknown object and bit her on the arm.

Dunn is further alleged to have repeatedly assaulted another baby over the course of almost three years by putting his hand over the boy’s mouth and nose and pinching it, restricting his breathing between April 3 2015 and January 8 2018.

The trial, before Sheriff Alastair Brown, continues.