Published: 09:48 BST, 3 January 2017 | Updated: 11:39 BST, 3 January 2017
Rocky Uzzell, 29, was jailed for beating his fabulous find of the week: walmart sleeveless cardigan daughter Isabelle so badly that she will be wheelchair-bound for life
A mentally-ill man who was jailed for beating his daughter so badly that she will never walk again blamed an 'alter ego' that took control of him, a judge has revealed.
Rocky Uzzell, 29, said a 'ghost-like person' that has 'taken control of his body since he was a child' had tried to 'get rid' of five-week-old fabulous baby Isabelle.
She suffered 'catastrophic' injuries as a result of the beating, which has left her wheelchair-bound and having to feed through a straw for the rest of her life.
Uzzell made the claims at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court - 18 months before being sentenced by a crown court judge.
But Mr Justice Keehan, who oversaw the family court case, has decided to reveal evidence heard behind closed doors for the first time because criminal proceedings have ended.
In the ruling he produced in May 2015, he branded Uzzell's alter-ego story as a 'ruse', describing his evidence as 'chilling' and concluding that he was responsible.
Mr Justice Keehan admitted that Uzzell, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, had mental health difficulties and had endured an abusive childhood. He said he understood how Uzzell might have created an alter ego as an 'imaginary protector'.
But he said evidence showed that Uzzell had hurt Isabelle - not a ghost. And he said there was a 'sadistic element' to the abuse.
Isabelle - who will be three in February - suffered serious brain damage and other multiple injuries in March 2014. Police said the harm caused was 'catastrophic' and 'horrific'.
Uzzell, and Isabelle's mother, Katherine Prigmore, 24, were jailed on December 7 2016 by Judge Rupert Mayo during a hearing at Northampton Crown Court.
Both admitted causing Isabelle serious harm, or allowing her to suffer serious harm.
Judge Mayo said Uzzell had injured Isabelle and imposed an eight-and-a-half year jail term. He handed Prigmore a 28-month jail term, and said her priority had not been Isabelle.
Uzzell, pictured with with Isabelle's mother Katherine Prigmore, who was also jailed, claimed his body was taken over by a 'ghost-like person' who carried out the assault
Mr Justice Keehan had analysed the case during April and May 2015 at the request of social workers. They asked him to make decisions about who had hurt Isabelle, to help them decide who should care for her.
He produced a ruling on May 7 2015, but said that it would have to remain under wraps until criminal proceedings were over to avoid the possibility of jurors being prejudiced.
The judge has now approved the release of the ruling and says Isabelle and her parents can be named.
Mr Justice Keehan said he was satisfied - on the balance of probabilities - that Uzzell had assaulted Isabelle, and inflicted injuries and pain on not less than six occasions.
He concluded that Prigmore had known that Uzzell had repeatedly harmed Isabelle and had lied to protect him. She had done nothing to protect her baby, he added.
But he said he could not rule out Prigmore as a future carer - even though he had made findings against her of the 'highest order of seriousness'.
Father's chilling testimony on shocking abuse
Rocky Uzzell described in 'graphic detail' how he assaulted his five-week-old daughter Isabelle
Rocky Uzzell described in 'graphic detail' how he assaulted his five-week-old daughter Isabelle, leaving her with 'catastrophic' injuries.
Blaming a 'ghost-like' alter ego for the actions, he described how a 'ghost-like person' that had taken over his body, squeezed her and punched her in the face.
Uzzell said: 'She was crying. He (the alter ego) goes to pick her up. He goes to the bottom of the bed and he squeezed her to stop crying. He squeezed with a lot of force.
'She was kicking her legs. She wasn't able to breathe or cry. He squeezed for a couple of minutes. She started to cry a lot. She would be in discomfort and pain. He put back the distressed baby.
Uzzell had added: 'He did not want me to have a child. It was his attempt to get rid of that child.'
He said his alter ego had let Isabelle fall on the mattress.
'(The alter ego) let her fall on the mattress. She landed on her back and bounced a little bit. She was still crying. He turns away and looks at the wall. His right hand goes to grab (her) leg, he pulls her off the bed and lets her swing and then swings her up into his left hand. She landed with force. Her head was not supported,' Uzzell had said.
'He knocked the back of her head with his fist five times to make her cry more and she did. He then put his right thumb over her chin and finger over her face to minimise her crying and it worked.
'She could still breathe through her nose. He did that for a minute and a half or a couple of seconds and then just placed her in the Moses basket when she was crying a bit.'
Uzzell had added: '(The alter ego) took her out of the Moses basket with his left arm. He touched her left hand and then he bent back her right hand to cause her pain and she started crying and screaming. He bent it back too far. She was screaming. He placed her in the Moses basket and covered her up.'
The evidence was given behind closed doors to avoid prejudicing a criminal case against him but has now been released after he was jailed.
The judge said Rocky Uzzell and Katherine Prigmore, Isabelle's mother, both had mental health difficulties. Uzzell had told a psychiatrist about his 'alter ego'.
He said a 'ghost-like person' had taken over his body on occasions since he was a child and the 'ghost' was male.
The judge said Uzzell had given more detail when cross-examined by lawyers.
'He (the alter ego) lifted her by the armpits and went to the kitchen and sat her on the cooker,' Uzzell had said.
'He started to strangle her to stop her crying. Both his hands were around her neck. He used a great amount of force to stop her breathing. She changed colour and was dazed. Then he was thinking 'Oh shit, (he's) hurt her too much'.
'She started to cry; a weak cry.
Blaming a 'ghost-like' alter ego for the actions, Uzzell, pictured with Prigmore, described how a 'ghost-like person' that had taken over his body, squeezed her and punched her in the face
'He lifted her up by the neck, still strangling her, and then shook her by the neck with her body dangling down - really powerful.'
Uzzell had then added: 'I lost count of how many times she was shaken. She wasn't conscious when I put her back to bed.'
Mr Justice Keehan said Uzzell's demeanour in the witness box had been 'disturbing in the extreme'.
The judge said some evidence was 'chilling'.
'When he gave evidence of his repeated and sustained abuse of (Isabelle), he did so in a cold, flat and unemotional manner,' said Mr Justice Keehan
'He described the abusive acts in graphic detail.'
The judge added: 'There was not a trace of shock, fear or regret when the father gave his accounts of the abuse of (Isabelle).'
Mr Justice Keehan said Uzzell had endured an abusive childhood.
He said he could understand how Uzzell could have created an alter ego as an 'imaginary protector'.
But he said evidence showed that Uzzell had hurt Isabelle - not a ghost.
'I am satisfied that the idea that (the alter ego) had injured (Isabelle) was a construct and a ruse by the father in an ill-conceived attempt to deflect blame from himself,' said Mr Justice Keehan.
'On the balance of probabilities, I find that the father assaulted and inflicted injuries and pain on (Isabelle) on not less than six occasions.'
The judge added: 'One of the most serious aspects of this case is that this is not a case of a young and inexperienced parent momentarily losing control and injuring or shaking a child. This father repeatedly and deliberately assaulted a tiny baby. There is, very sadly, a sadistic element to the father's abuse of (Isabelle).'
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