Police were last night trying to stop Facebook vigilantes causing civil unrest after a one-month-old baby boy was raped and battered so badly that his heart stopped.
Messages on the social networking site revealed plans for a vigil near the home of the infant, who is thought to have suffered one of Britain’s worst cases of child abuse.
The baby’s horrific injuries were said to have included a broken arm, a broken collarbone, punctured lungs and severe bruising. It was said all of his ribs were fractured.
Care: King's College Hospital where the baby is on a life support machine after suffering a heart attack
There was reportedly also a sexual injury and internal wounds, suggesting rape.
A man and a woman, from Gravesend, Kent, were arrested in connection with the incident. They have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.
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One Facebook group called ‘Jail the scum who raped and beat a one-month-old baby in Gravesend’ contained several messages calling for the parents to be named over the alleged abuse.
One post read: ‘These people need to be locked up not given bail. They are scum.’ One local woman said: ‘We feel disgusted about this and we want to express our support for the child. The plan is to hold a vigil this evening.’
Suspects: The man and woman who were arrested over the alleged attack are both from Gravesend, Kent
The unnamed baby was in a critical condition when taken to a hospital near his home on Thursday, but last night he was ‘showing signs of improvement’ after being transferred to a London hospital. Police forensic experts have examined a house in Gravesend.
Neighbours said a man and a woman lived at the address with a newborn baby.
They were described as ‘nice people, normal and polite’.
Another neighbour said she heard ‘a loud commotion’ at the house on Thursday morning.