A martial arts fan who tried to kill a two year-old boy while babysitting the child has been jailed for almost nine years.

David McMullen, 35, brutally attacked the child just days before Christmas 2016.

Prosecutors said McMullen “delivered a blow” to the tiny victim resulting in the near-fatal stomach injury.

Jurors heard how the force used was that often seen in road traffic accidents.

A trial heard how violent McMullen trained in Muay Thai fighting at the time.

Despite the evidence, the boy's mum told jurors she did not believe the thug was responsible.

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McMullen – a chef who helps run a sushi company – returned to the dock after being convicted of attempted murder where he was jailed for eight years and seven months at the High Court in Glasgow.

Lord Armstrong told him: “The child was vulnerable by reason of his age and had been left in your sole care.

“You were in a position of the utmost trust...but for treatment, he would have undoubtedly have died.

“You continue to deny responsibility and have displayed no remorse or regret.”

McMullen was looking after the boy at his home in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire while his mum was at work.

The child was sleeping when she left on the morning of December 21 2016.

But, a panicked McMullen, of the city's Provanmill, later called stating the boy was sick and “freezing cold”.

She recalled: “He told me his tummy was sore. It felt quite hard.

“I wrapped him in a big fluffy cover, but I could still feel how cold he was. I could also see that his lips were blue.”

The mum and McMullen raced the child to hospital.

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The boy had bruising on his stomach. It was quickly decided he needed surgery.

The split to the colon and intestine area was described as “rare”.

The mum and McMullen were later told by medics they believed the injury was “non accidental”.

She recalled the surgeon stating to her: “I am telling you someone has done this to your child.”

Gordon Jackson QC, defending, said she remained “very supportive” of the man who tried to kill her son.

He added: “All in all, it is a very sad and tragic business.”