A man identified as Thomas Cockings has been sentenced to 15 months in prison, for biting an eight-year-old boy in the chest before lying and blaming the incident on an epileptic fit.
A Swansea Crown Court heard Cockings picked up his young victim after the boy had gone near his dog. He reportedly sank his teeth into him before telling his victim to lie to his mum when he got home and say he had been hit by a ball while playing.
The prosecutor, Ieuan Rees said the boy returned home at the end of the day in the summer of 2021 and his mother noticed a bite mark on his arm.
While the boy said he had been bitten by a dog, his mother spotted another injury, this time on his chest, which looked like a human bite rather than a canine bite.
The boy however told his mum the bruising on his chest was from being hit by a ball but she was unconvinced and called the non-emergency 101 number and was advised to seek medical attention due to the risk of infection from any bite.
She took her son to Morriston Hospital A&E unit and Mr Rees said it was at this point that the boy said the 29-year-old defendant had bitten him.
The authorities were alerted, and the child was sent for a detailed examination at Swansea’s Singleton Hospital. Cockings was arrested and interviewed. He told officers that his dog had “nipped” the boy on the arm but denied causing the chest injury.
The court heard he consented to having a dental impression made of his teeth and this, along with enhanced photos of the complex bruising on the boy’s chest, were sent to an expert for comparison.
Mr Rees said the expert concluded “there was weight to the conclusion that the defendant was the biter”.
Cockings was interviewed again once the results of the examination were known, and answered “no comment” to all questions.
Cockings, from Port Talbot, had previously pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and despite expressing a desire to vacate that plea, eventually maintained it.
John Allchurch, for Cockings, said the defendant had a form of focal epilepsy and had suffered with mental health issues since childhood.
He said his client had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder, and that symptoms of this latter condition included impulsivity and outbursts of rage. He said it may be that the child had gone close to the defendant’s dog after being told to stay away and had been bitten, but Cockings had “impulsively” picked him up.
Judge Paul Thomas QC told Cockings that what he had done to his victim had caused an ugly bite mark to his chest, and said it must have been a frightening and bewildering experience for the boy.
Judge Thomas called the seizure story a “false account” of what happened, and a “pathetic attempt to avoid responsibility”.
He said that Cockings had shown self pity rather than remorse, and he noted that the author of the pre-sentence report concluded that Cockings posed a risk to children due to his personality disorder.