A man and woman have been jailed for allowing a child to suffer serious harm that has left her with permanent damage.

Before a packed public gallery, the court heard the child, who was six months old at the time, suffered what Judge John Lodge described as “catastrophic injuries”

David Farrelly, 25, of Edith Road, Clacton, has been jailed for 4 years with an extended licence of 12 months.

Zoe Parsons, 24, of St Clare Meadow, Rochford, who was sobbing in the dock, has been jailed for two years.

Basildon Crown Court heard yesterday how the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffered multiple rib fractures as well as brain injuries so severe that she required a shunt to be implanted.

A statement written by the child’s full-time carer which described the difficulties the child now faces because of her injuries was read out to the court.

It said: “She has difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. She will try herself but often falls out. She requires care from the moment she gets up to the moment she goes to bed.

“She is unable to get dressed or undressed due to weakness in her hands.

“She does not have the strength or grip to do everyday things and due to the weakness she has to wear splints on both arms.

“There is also concern her fingers could turn inwards and close in on themselves.

“Due to multiple rib fractures she is now susceptible to chest infections due to a weak chest.”

The statement went on to say that the gap between the child’s skull and her brain is 15cm which means knocks to the head could result in bleeds on the brain and therefore must result in an immediate A&E visit.

She has also been having absent seizures and concern has been expressed by doctors that she has only grown 4cm in 10 months.

Sentencing them, Judge Lodge said: “She needed significant medical intervention. She continues to have problems with mobility and motor skills.

“She has been deprived of a normal childhood.

“I assess the harm caused as high. The injuries are permanent and liable to affect every aspect of her life. She was entitled to care and protection. Instead she was subjected to violence.”

An NSPCC spokesperson for the East of England said: “No baby should have to suffer the horrifying injuries that Farrelly and Parsons inflicted upon their defenceless victim who will feel the effects of this repugnant abuse for the rest of their life.

“The NSPCC’s helpline is available on 0808 800 5000 to report any concerns about a child’s welfare. By making us aware of the situation we can advise the best steps to take, assess whether a child is at risk of harm and take the appropriate action.”