AN ADDICT who assaulted a friend's five-year-old son when he took the lad with him to buy drugs has been jailed for four years.

Robert Emery, who was on a suspended sentence, told a friend the little boy 'spilled my gear' while they were in the car near Westbury train station.

And when the youngster was finally seen at hospital a medic said he had the worst facial injuries she had seen in a child.

During the assault the 29-year-old also put a wet rag in the boy's mouth to stop him crying, Swindon Crown Court was told.

Now a judge has not only jailed him but insisted social services must be made aware of the probation report, fearing the risk he presents to children.

Charles Thomas, prosecuting, said Emery had been released on bail by a judge to be assessed for drug treatment days before the assault on January 6.

He said the defendant was staying with the child's mother, and in the days before had made remarks about hating the little lad.

Late one evening Emery got a crossbow and went out in his car with the youngster to go to get some drugs.

During the journey he attacked the boy, banging his head against the door and hitting him on the head with what it is thought was a roll of cling film, the court heard.

When he saw the lad's injuries, instead of taking him to hospital he called a friend in Bristol and allegedly told him the boy had 'spilled my gear'.

After arriving at the friend's house the pal was physically sick at what he saw and his partner persuaded Emery to take the child to hospital.

Even then he tried to cook up an excuse by asking everyone to say he had accidentally shut his head in the car door.

After he was admitted to hospital the child was kept in for two nights but though his head was 'misshapen' fortunately only suffered soft tissue injuries.

Mr Thomas said six weeks earlier the defendant had been stopped while driving and failed a roadside test for cocaine, but refused to give blood at the station.

Emery, of Aldeburgh Place, Trowbridge, admitted ABH as well as failing to provide a sample of blood for analysis.

Both matters put him in breach of a suspended sentence imposed in July 2016 for common assault.

Andrew Stone, defending, said he accepted it was a serious assault and that the pre-sentence report 'does not make for edifying reading'.

After many years of abstinence he said he fell back into drug use after a relationship broke down, leaving him homeless.

Jailing him Judge Robert Pawson said "You pleaded guilty late in the day to an offence alleging actual bodily harm and the photographs, as Mr Thomas says on behalf of the Crown, quite rightly speak for themselves. They are shocking.

"They are so shocking in fact that a nurse who met your five-year-old victim described the injuries as, and I am quoting, 'the worst facial injuries I have seen on a child'."

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Julia Vince said: "This was an extremely distressing and despicable crime.

"Emery showed no real remorse for his victim, despite pleading guilty.

"In fact, he lied and denied ever deliberately hurting his victim in his interviews with police, putting the child and family through more misery before deciding to change his story - finally admitting the awful truth.

"I welcome this sentence and hope it sends a message to anyone who carries out any sort of abuse, you will be brought to justice."