A father has been given a suspended sentence for punching his baby son and then lying about it to police.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons but lived in Royston at the time of the offence, came to the attention of police after his son was taken to hospital.

The little boy, who was three months old at the time, was admitted on August 21, 2018. Doctors examined him and noticed facial bruising, scratches to the left side of his face and small marks to his legs.

His parents explained that the boy had "hit his head" on his father's jaw, and that they noticed "mild swelling", but a few days later bruising appeared and the swelling got worse.

Doctors became suspicious as they noticed the parents' explanation did not match up to his injuries.

The man repeated the same story in a police interview, but in another interview five days later told police that the first version of events was true, but added that after this he had accidentally punched the boy "very hard" to the left side of his face after putting out an arm to stop himself falling over.

He said he had not given this version of events to his partner - the boy's mother - and his own mother, until the day before his second interview.

The father was later served a postal requisition charging him with assaulting, ill-treating or neglecting a child to cause unnecessary suffering or injury.

He denied the charge, but was found guilty at Cambridge Crown Court on October 19.

On Friday, November 25, he was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, and a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Judge Jonathan Seely considered the mitigating factor that the father had wanted to take the boy to hospital.

Sergeant Kevin Sutcliffe, who investigated, said: "The young boy’s father was one of the people he relied upon to keep him safe and not only did he fail to do this, but he also lied about it.

"Thankfully, the baby is now in a safer environment and thriving. I’d like to thank the medical professionals for raising their concerns when something didn’t seem quite right.

"I would urge anyone who is concerned for the welfare of a child to report it. We all have a responsibility to protect children in our communities."