A 34-YEAR-OLD Dursley man has been jailed after injuring his young son during a bout of ‘play fighting’.

Staff at the Gloucester primary school attended by the five-year-old found serious bruising to the boy’s left thigh on November 21 last year.

Social services and the police were alerted and examination by paediatric specialists at Cheltenham General Hospital found bruises consistent with blunt impact, such as from an adult fist, said Robert Duvall, prosecuting.

The dad, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court to assaulting the boy and causing him actual bodily harm and was jailed for nine months.

The court was told the man had been sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2006 for an assault involving another infant.

Mr Duvall said in March 2011 the boy had attended school with a red mark on his forehead that he said had been accidentally caused by his father during ‘play fighting’.

A child protection plan was put in place, the family was closely monitored and the man was warned not to indulge in ‘play fighting’ with his son, said Mr Duvall.

On November 21, the boy told teachers he did not want anyone to see the bruise as they would think his dad had been ‘play fighting’ with him again.

Analysis of his mobile telephone showed an exchange of text messages with the boy’s mother, which expressed her concerns about her partner’s attitude towards the boy, his unforgiving nature and general behaviour.

Mr Duvall said that when interviewed by police, the man denied assault or that he had been ‘play fighting’ with his son.

Virginia Cornwall, defending, said he acknowledged the bruises must have been painful but they were not in themselves serious or causing lasting physical damage. He required further intervention to reduce the risk of offending in future, she said.

A suspended sentence would allow him to undergo a rehabilitation course to deal with his problems.

Judge William Hart told the man that he accepted the basis of plea that he had not intentionally caused the injury and it had happened during a bout of ‘play fighting’.

The injury to his son was clear and would have been painful and of a distressing nature, the judge said.

Judge Hart said the man had a bad record of violence against adults and against a child previously, and had little understanding of the impact of his actions.