Hull - An angry mother who threw her baby son at a woman police officer has avoided jail.
DC Kirsty Burnett caught the 15-month-old, but suffered a life-changing injury as she threw her head back.
The officer needed operations for a trapped nerve and a frozen shoulder and her ongoing physical problems have affected both her family life and career.
Kirsty Bearfield, 24, had her youngest son Freddie sitting on her knee in a hospital waiting area when DC Burnett told her both he and his big brother would have to stay with their father that night due to concerns about an injury to the older child.
She reacted by hurling the little boy at the officer.
Bearfield, a bare-knuckle fighter from Hedon, Hull, admitted causing grievous bodily harm when she appeared at the city’s crown court and was told she could have been jailed.
But Judge Paul Watson QC imposed a 12-month suspended sentence instead.
He told her: "I have decided it would not be right or conscionable for something you did two years ago to immediately deprive you of your liberty."
The court heard the incident happened at Hull Royal Infirmary in November 2017.
A social worker had decided that although an injury to the older brother was not suspicious, the children should be removed from Bearfield’s care that night to allow "further evidence" to be considered.
Phillip Evans, prosecuting, said: "That was news which the defendant did not take well." Bearfield, who has four previous convictions for battery, reacted angrily when DC Burnett told her of the decision.
Mr Evans said: "Upon hearing this news, the defendant threw [the baby] at the officer with a look of anger on her face."
DC Burnett put her arms up and caught the 30lb (13kg) baby. She put her head back while catching him to ensure she didn’t come into contact with his face.
But that action had devastating consequences for the officer, who was in "immediate discomfort". She was referred to a neurosurgeon and had a scan that revealed a trapped nerve in her lower spine. She still does not have full use of her left shoulder and has been left with a six-inch scar from surgery as "a painful reminder of what happened," the court heard.
DC Burnett said due to the injuries she has given up her hobbies of climbing, swimming, and walking, and was forced to have her hair cut short as she can no longer hold a hairdryer. She had also been unable to dress herself.
Restrictions have been put in place on what duties she can perform at work and what roles she can apply for.
The officer said her daughter had just started school at the time and she had been unable to hug her when she felt anxious.
"It’s heartbreaking as a mother when your child needs comfort and they are asking to be picked up and you have to turn them down," she said. "This is all due to Kirsty Bearfield."
She said she constantly thinks about Bearfield and said: "I hate that we are forever linked that way as I don’t think I will ever forget her or what happened. It made me leave a role I was good at. I have nightmares about her chucking her son and what could have happened."
"She needs to be made to realise you can’t behave like that. She robbed me of being able to be a mum to my child and that I can never forgive."
Steven Garth, defending, said Bearfield’s parents were heroin addicts ‘and did not want her’. She was put in care as a toddler and had been placed with 39 foster carers around the country by the age of five.