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A Newcastle-based couple who abused a toddler so badly that the child could have died have been handed lengthy jail sentences.
Robert Davey, 23, from Lemington, was given 12 years at Newcastle Crown Court for repeatedly punching the sick infant, causing damage to its stomach wall which could have proved fatal.
His partner Sarah Vasey, 28, from Wallsend, Newcastle, was jailed for five years after being found guilty of cruelty and attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm.
Davey had been convicted of three counts of grievous bodily harm and cruelty.
Judge Michael Cartlidge said: ``The dedicated skill of hospital staff saved (the child) from death.''
Afterwards, Northumbria Police's Detective Chief Inspector Max Black said: ``This is a shocking case of child abuse of a vulnerable toddler.
``This child suffered potentially life-threatening injuries which had been deliberately inflicted, through a combination of abuse and neglect, at the hands of this pair.
``Northumbria Police takes such cases of child abuse extremely seriously and will always seek to put offenders before the courts. We hope that the sentences handed down today by the court will act as a deterrent to others.''
An NSPCC spokesman said the child's treatment was ``chilling and callous''. She added: ``There is no place in society for this kind of brutal treatment of vulnerable children.
``Hopefully, these sentences will deter others who may be inclined to deliberately harm a defenceless toddler.''