Elderly man guilty of punching a baby

An elderly man has been found guilty of assaulting a baby girl, who was just five days old, in a supermarket.

Sixty-three-year-old David Hardy had pleaded not guilty to common assault at Tesco in Baguley, Manchester, saying that he thought the baby was a doll.

The little girl thankfully did not suffer any serious injuries in the assault, although she was left with a red mark to her face.

District Judge Sam Goozee, sitting in the case, told Hardy that he found his claim that he believed the baby to be a doll to be wholly “implausible”.

The judge said: “I’m satisfied so that I’m sure that at the point you struck out you did so with the intention and knowing Elsie was a baby, not a doll.”

Giving evidence in his defence, Mr Hardy said that he can’t believe what he did and that he has been left devastated by what happened.

He said: “I just feel wracked with guilt for what I have done. I wouldn’t do that. I still can’t believe I did it. I know I was out of order. I know it was wrong but it just happened. I thought I was just going to make the girl laugh. I don’t know why I thought that. I thought it was a little girl’s dolly. I realise now it wasn’t but at the time…” He said he had apologised repeatedly.


A cash manager at a timber firm, he was going to pay for groceries with his wife of 24 years when the incident happened. He said he had flicked at, rather than punched the baby, thinking she was a little girl’s doll.

The baby’s parents, who had been with their seven-year-old daughter, called store security who then summoned police officers and paramedics. The baby’s mother Julie Duckers said she had been left devastated by the incident.




Judith is a qualified journalist who has worked in both the UK and the US, specialising in writing about politics, education and health.