Adelaide mother Emma Jade Short and uncle Rodney David Clough charged with criminal neglect

UK News


Toddler is rushed to hospital with ‘serious burns, bruises and traces of METH in his urine’ as two-year-old’s mum and boyfriend – who is also the boy’s UNCLE – are charged with criminal neglect

  • Emma Jade Short and Rodney David Clough are charged with criminal neglect
  • On August 8 Short’s unconscious two-year-old was taken to doctor’s surgery
  • A court heard the child had serious burns, bruises and traces of drugs in system 
  • Clough is both the uncle of the toddler and also the Short’s boyfriend

The mother and uncle of a two-year-old boy were charged with criminal neglect after he was allegedly submerged in boiling water and found to have traces of meth in his urine, a court heard.

Emma Jade Short, 34, appeared at Elizabeth Magistrates Court, Adelaide, from custody on Monday accused of criminal negligence for the severe injuries her toddler suffered earlier this month. 

Rodney David Clough, 40, faced the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court for the same charge on Monday but did not apply for bail.

Emma Jade Short (above) has been charged with criminal negligence

Emma Jade Short (above) has been charged with criminal negligence

On August 8 Short took her unconscious son to Blair Athol Medical Clinic with serious burns and bruises after staying at the nearby Comfort Inn Manhattan, on Main North Rd. 

Short told police at the clinic that her son suffered the burns when he accidentally turned on a sink tap, stating she noticed steam was rising from the water too late and immediately turned on the cold water. 

Elizabeth Magistrates Court heard a forensic paediatrician found the toddler’s injuries indicated he was actually submerged in boiling water. 

It also heard the paediatrician found bruises on the toddler’s neck that showed he was likely grabbed by his shirt.

Short took her two-year-old son (above) to Blair Athol Medical Clinic with serious burns and bruises on August 8

Short took her two-year-old son (above) to Blair Athol Medical Clinic with serious burns and bruises on August 8

However, Short later told police in a formal interview that her son was injured while under the care of Clough.

Clough is both the toddler’s uncle and Short’s partner. 

She claims she had left the pair and returned to find a ‘panicked’ Clough and her son unconscious son on the bed.

While arguing for home-detention bail Short’s lawyer, Vageli Dimou, said her second account of the story was ‘truthful’.

‘She says she was confused at the situation and upset, and she was, in essence, protecting herself due to the nature of whatever this relationship is with the co-accused,’ he said.

Short alleged her son was in the care of Clough (above), who is both Short's partner and her son's uncle, when he suffered serious burns on August 8

Short alleged her son was in the care of Clough (above), who is both Short’s partner and her son’s uncle, when he suffered serious burns on August 8

‘When she is interviewed on the second occasion with police, she says she gives her truthful account of what occurred and that she was not aware of what happened to the child.

‘If she had been aware she would not have left him in the care of (Mr Clough).

‘She wants to know what has happened to her child – what appears to have happened repeatedly to her child – causing these injuries.’

Short was denied bail as she is considered a ‘flight risk’ after allegedly discussing fleeing the state on a bus to NSW with Clough, who allegedly had already booked a ticket.

The prosecutor said traces of methamphetamine were found in the two-year-old’s system and that they are conducting an investigation to find if the boy suffered any brain injuries ‘due to a lack of oxygen as a result of being submerged in water’.

Short will learn the outcome of her bail submission later this month while Clough is to remain in custody until his next hearing, set for December.

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