Scumbag baby basher jailed, but not for long enough

Anyone who bashes a baby should serve a good long stretch in prison.

One baby basher has just been sentenced to 4 years and 5 months in prison, Not long enough.

A computer gamer who bashed and critically injured his baby boy has been sentenced to jail for the act described as “a complete horror story”.

Waipukurau man Devon Ashley Bird, 21, appeared in Napier District Court this morning for sentencing after pleading guilty to ill-treating a child and causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard last month.

Judge Bridget Mackintosh sentenced him to four years and five months in prison.

The story of his abuse is horrific.

The offending occurred on November 1, 2013 after Bird’s partner and mother of the nearly five-week-old baby boy had spent the night caring for her son at their Central Hawke’s Bay home.

She woke Bird about 6.30am and asked him to care for their baby, who was asleep in a bassinet, so she could rest, court documents said.

At some time between 6.30am and 10am, while the baby was in his sole care, Bird caused what a doctor said was “non-accidental trauma and extremely unusual for a five-week-old infant”.

It was also during this period that Bird, who is studying computer science at EIT, began playing the graphic video game The Walking Dead.

The game is described online as a “survival game in the midst of a zombie apocalypse”.

The boy’s grandmother described the incident as a “complete horror story”.  

She arrived at the home at 10.40am and Bird told her his son had “punched himself” and suffered a bruised eye. Bird then left for class at the Eastern Institute of Technology.

“She became concerned and continued to observe [her grandson] who appeared to be distressed,” court documents revealed.

The baby was taken to the family GP at 1pm, before being taken immediately to Hawke’s Bay Hospital.

X-rays revealed a large fracture to his skull, along with more than 20 other fractures all over his body.

He was transferred to the intensive care unit at Auckland’s Starship Hospital by air later that day.

Starship Hospital doctors and paediatricians described the fractures as being at “various stages of healing” and therefore were caused at different times of the boy’s life.

“All the fractures were consistent with non-accidental trauma and extremely unusual for a five-week-old infant.”

When assessed by a psychologist, Bird said he had no independent memory of the incident and described the violent outburst as “in a dream”.

Bird’s lawyer Richard Stone said a defence based on automatism — an act performed unconsciously — was hard to prove but he urged the judge to consider the psychiatric report when sentencing his client.

Judge Mackintosh said Bird was a keen gamer who would often stay awake into the early hours of the morning playing video games.

Bird said he was “extremely tired and hallucinating” during the incident, the judge said.


Bird said he had been very tired since the boy’s birth and may have fallen asleep while his son fell to the floor.

He also claimed he used a rough method to relieve the baby’s gas but also admitted he had accidentally fallen into a coffee table, causing a TV remote control unit to hit the boy on the head.

Sounds like his lawyer tried to hoodwink the judge, who wasn’t having a bar of the weaselly excuses.

The bottom line is his actions have permanently impair the child…he should be permanently impaired too.

The baby’s 19-year-old mother was heartbroken after being “so happy and proud” when her baby was born. She said Bird’s actions had left her son “fighting for his life” while “my heart was breaking”.

She said her son was “taken” from her while he was at Starship hospital receiving treatment. The baby is now in the care of his grandmother and CYF.

“I loved and trusted Devon, but he has hurt the most precious person in my life.”

She said facing people who asked why she allowed it to happen had also deeply hurt.

“I am being punished for Devon’s actions … I want to go back to being [my son’s] mother.

“I have been robbed of a normal mother-child relationship.”

I hope his lag is tough…bit 4 years and 5 months isn’t long enough for a lifetime of suffering for the child.


– NZ Herald


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  • Michael_l_c

    And a sob story from the mother. Five week old baby and she didn’t notice any tenderness, swelling, bruising etc. Surely any child would have been screaming.
    Deeply hurt at being asked why she allowed it to happen? Wow.

    • Cadwallader

      Perhaps the mother ought be charged with neglect. She should at least have a long hard look at herself. Then again, if her choice of partners is so utterly decrepit, self-assessent may be beyond her? She couldn’t detect wounds to her child so probably can’t see her own defects?

    • Monito

      Deeply hurt to be questioned good lord how much did that poor innocent baby hurt you witch!

  • Drhill

    Sounds to me like the guy (or reporter) is trying to blame the video games he was playing instead of himself.

  • Scum should be locked up for 10 years at least.
    Assaulting a baby is beyond excuses.
    As for the mum, she must be brain dead to not notice the on going assaults over 5 weeks. She should have all her tubes tied in big knots.

  • 40something

    This child had multiple historic bone fractures – ‘historic’ within a five week period. While this monster was doing this what was she doing? In the first five weeks a baby should be either being nursed or sleeping – I suggest she has severed her own maternal bond by leaving this infant unattended with this low life.
    Thank god for the grandmother.

  • Goldie

    I agree. Such an injury to a very young baby would inflict permanent brain damage. And the evidence of the doctors is that there was sustained and prolonged abuse of the child. 4 years is not enough.

    This might suggest why the baby has been removed from the care of the mother.

  • She sounds like she has at least taken responsibility for her life, dispite him being older than the childs mother, he sounds like he has the mental age of a 12 year old, a slow one at that. Maybe prison isn’t the best place for him, secure psychiatric facility might be better. You know the type of place, pink padded walls, bars over the windows, locked doors, doped up to the eyeballs on anti-psychotics and drolling room mate who thinks he is a reincarnated Genghis Khan

    • Pharmachick

      And no video games.

  • D.Dave

    Devon Bird should be locked up for 4 years and 8 months, plus however long it takes the child to exhibit ‘normal, behaviour. If the poor kid is brain damaged, Bird does ‘porridge’ forever.

  • OneTrack

    What is 30% of 4 years and 5 months? Because isn’t that when this guy will be back out (once he has taken the required courses.)

    • Benoni

      Prison sentences are halved for non violent crime but perps have to serve 2/3 of the sentence if the crime is a violent one. I am not sure if bashing a baby is classified as violence but if it is he will have to serve a term of 3yrs in jail.

      • KGB

        And he can apply for parole with GPS monitoring when he has only served 12 months of that. (not saying he’ll get it but he will be eligible to apply)

  • Bart67

    The rage I feel about this article is beyond belief.

    When I first read the story after sentencing yesterday I had just got home after attending a funeral. The deceased was an 8 year old boy who had succumbed to an especially resistant strain of pneumonia which he contracted after 2 years of treatment for Leukemia.

    The parents of this child at the service conducted themselves with so much dignity, courage and love as they bid farewell to their son, and i have no doubt they would have given anything for another hour to hold him. I have never seen such love, such devotion.

    Then I read about Devon Bird, who couldn’t stop playing a video game long enough to care for a child. The level of contempt I hold for this scum cannot be expressed without risking a ban!

    I hope he suffers.

  • Jdogg

    4 years and 5? The article shows his many attempts at avoiding responsibility (excuses) ergo – showing little if any, remorse for the acts that caused permanent damage. Did they ignore the fact that evidence showed this was a prolonged event. As usual, slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket. Even though the Mother has taken responsibility, ok she’s lost her child but she should have been charged with something. Sad to think people spend years and thousands on IVF while so many breed that really shouldn’t.

  • Kiwi David

    These idiot Judges need to come live in the real world for a while.

  • Ben

    He should have had at least as long as the guy who assaulted patients in the back of an ambulance

  • HR

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the defence lawyer rolled up in some of these cases and said “look, your Honour, I have spoken at length with my client. In my opinion he hasn’t any remorse over this horrific incident, and there is absolutely nothing I can say in mitigation of this event. The prosecution is exactly right in what they say and I agree entirely with the prosecutions submission that my client receive the maximum sentence possible, with no opportunity for parole.”

    • Michael_l_c

      Unfortunately the honest lawyer would be struck off and a retrial ordered. So loose, loose, loose.
      I have little sympathy for defence lawyers in such circumstances but some do suffer anguish over what they are involved with & are quite glad when the prosecution succeed.

  • minnie

    A wee shave and a teeny knick would ensure that this monster never has the privilage of fatherhood again!!

  • KGB

    For start he should have been with attempted murder. GBH is a joke. GBH is committed by one adult against another. When a fully grown man attacks a baby it is attempted murder. It is a miracle this poor wee child is alive.
    We have the right laws. We have the right sentences. What we don’t have is the right Judges.

  • Richard Motet

    Judge Bridget Mackintosh – another monkey in Silk,