A FATHER fractured his baby’s skull and ribs by smashing him against a wall having spent the previous night smoking cannabis.

Benjamin Reeve, 22, of Dorset Gardens, Brighton was jailed for 12 years and six months yesterday after he admitted attacking the six-week-old.

The boy was taken to hospital only when his mother came home and saw his swollen head, with Reeve denying what he had done until eventually confessing to his stepfather – who told the police.

Jailing Reeve at Lewes Crown Court yesterday, Recorder Anthony Chinn QC said: “Striking or throwing a baby against a wall is analogous to using a weapon against a defenceless child.

“And you knew you would be caring for that child but chose to stay up half the night before abusing cannabis.”

Prosecutor Rhodri James told the court how Reeve had been taking care of his son, now aged two, at an address in Hove in April 2013, while the baby’s mother went out.

When she returned, she saw that her child’s head was “hugely swollen”.

But when asked what happened, Reeve replied that he had "hit his head on the sofa while being fed”.

The child’s mother took him immediately to hospital, where doctors originally thought he had a blood haemorrhage.

But scans taken over the next days and weeks showed the child had two fractures to the side of his skull and fractures to both right and left ribs.

Reeve at first maintained the child had fallen onto the floor while being fed. Then he told his stepfather he had fallen asleep with Reeve on his chest and the child had fallen off.

His denials led to suspicion also falling on the mother, who was arrested before Reeve’s came clean to his stepfather.

It was not until September of the same year that Reeve told stepdad David Boteler that he had “lost it” and thrown the child against the wall.

He told Reeve to come clean to police, eventually telling them himself after Reeve refused.

Reeve then claimed his stepfather had made up the confession, maintaining his denial until eventually pleading guilty on the first day of his trial.

While on bail for grievous bodily harm against the child, Mr Reeve went to the mother's house and assaulted her, for which he was separately convicted.

Mitigating, William England said the case showed the dangers of “excessive cannabis consumption", adding: “He put his son at massive risk and immediate danger.”

Sentencing, Justice Chinn said he believed Reeve had shown “genuine remorse.”