A 63-year-old British man has appeared in court charged with punching a five-day-old baby in the face in a Tesco store, saying he thought it was a doll.
David Hardy approached the shopping trolley where tiny Elsie Temple was lying in a carry cot while her mum Amy Duckers was showing her to friends, a court heard.
The court was told the baby was left in tears and with a red mark to her face before being taken to hospital where she was kept in for seven hours.
Hardy, from Baguley, Greater Manchester was later arrested but claimed he thought Elsie was a baby toy and didn’t realise she was real.
Hardy appeared before a district judge at Manchester magistrates court on the eve of his 64th birthday after his case was unexpectedly brought forward at the request of lawyers, according to the Mirror newspaper.
He admitted throwing the punch at Tesco in Baguley earlier this month but pleaded not guilty to charge of common assault saying he had no intention of hitting a baby.
He will face a trial at the JPs court next month.
“This is an extremely unusual case. This defendant is effectively a family man who has young children in the family and does not behave in a way that is suggested to this allegation,” his lawyer Chris Fallows told the paper.
“The crown suggest Mr Hardy deliberately punched a five day old baby to the face in a carry cot in a shopping trolley…the defendant says he believed – and this belief was prior to the incident – that he thought it was a doll….this defendant has been on the verge of suicide and his family will have to go through evidence which is already in their statements….I asked for this case to be moved forwards because Mr Hardy wants it dealt with as quickly as possible.”