A man from western Sydney has pleaded guilty to burning a 10-month-old baby in a bath filled with scalding hot water, just so he could smoke a cigarette and charge his cellphone.
After the incident, the baby boy suffered burns to 40 percent of his body and spent 26 days at the Westmead Hospital, ABC Australia reported.
He also got multiple cuts and bruises to his face and suffered a fractured elbow.
Atare Tepania, 24, entered the plea in Penrith District Court in front of the baby’s mother on Tuesday, Aug. 15.
Tepania was looking after the baby back in November 2015 while the mother went out shopping at nearby stores, 9News reported.
He then noticed the boy crying and picked him up by one arm, placing him in the bath and turning the hot water on.
But Tepania then left the room to have a cigarette and look at his phone.
“The accused was alerted by the loud screams of the victim, returned to the bathroom and observed the victim lying on his back underneath the tap with his feet in the air in a shallow pool of accumulated water,” court documents state.
A court statement said that he then heard the baby screaming so returned to the bathroom and saw him in a pool of hot water, ABC Australia reported.
Tepania then reached again to grab the boy’s arm but lost his grip and the baby hit the bathroom floor, 9News reported.
“The accused noticed the victim’s skin was peeling off,” the statement said.
He then reportedly grabbed the baby by one arm, dropped him on his head, picked him up and then put him on to a bed.
Tepania poured cups of cold water on the baby but he continued to scream. He also tried feeding boy with a bottle of formula.
“The victim would not take the bottle and spat it out multiple times, as the accused repeatedly pushed the bottle with sufficient force to cause injuries to the inside of the victim’s mouth,” the statement said.
“The victim continued screaming and the accused lashed out at him by striking the victim at least once to the face and head region,” the statement continues.
According to ABC Australia, the child’s mother arrived home a short time later and called medical authorities. She put the baby in a cold shower and bath before ambulance officers arrived and called the police.
When police questioned Tepania he replied, “I put him in the [expletive] shower and I didn’t turn the cold on, I only turned the hot on, I left and when I came back …”
So the police asked where he went after turning the hot water on.
“I went and put my phone on charge. I had a smoke too,” Tepania said.
The accused blamed alcohol for what happened, telling police he was hungover, referencing a scale of 1 to 10, saying he was a 10.
Tepania said he “was not thinking straight” when he put the baby under hot water.
A blood test later revealed he had methamphetamines in his system, ABC Australia reported.
After assessing the baby’s burns, experts said they had healed without scarring and would be no long-term repercussions.
Tepania will be sentenced in October.