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Five year old assaulted six times in a year by step-mum

Five year old assaulted six times in a year by step-mum

Thursday 24 May 2018

Five year old assaulted six times in a year by step-mum

Thursday 24 May 2018

Six separate counts of assault on a five-year-old saw a woman jailed for three years and six months by Guernsey's Royal Court.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was the primary carer for the five-year-old girl for the majority of her life so far, but she was found guilty of beating her with an e-cigarette and a phone, as well as kicking her, pushing her over, and cutting her with keys.

The prosecution said the victim had more than 15 separate bruises attributed to just the first three counts of assault. And while the prosecution initially wanted the woman to face 10 counts, the law in Guernsey meant that she could not be charged with child cruelty as in the eyes of the law, she was not a parent figure to the child. That legal position could soon change however. 

All six counts the woman did face are said to have taken place throughout 2017, while the victim was just five.

The levels of abuse only came to light when a neighbour saw the woman pushing the child over with force, when they were walking home. It was reported to Social Services, with a social worker visiting the premises the next day. The defendant and the father of the victim were at home at that time and they allowed the worker to speak to the victim alone, where she showed them many of her bruises across both legs and her upper and lower back.

Police were quickly involved in the matter from there on.

Guernsey Police Station

During police interviews, the victim was quoted as saying the woman got her car keys and scratched her back and "privates" (referring to her backside) until they bled, so she had to take a bath to wash off the blood. That allegation made up the third charge the woman faced.

The first was for bashing the victim on the head and back with her e-cigarette, the second for using her phone to hit her, the fourth for kicking her in the legs, the fifth for injuries to her hip and the six for the forceful push that was witnessed.

During the same interviews, the victim said she didn't like going to school, because in lessons like PE she would have to get changed in front of other people and expose her bruises.

Since the woman was arrested, the victim has lived with a foster family, where she is reportedly much happier, enjoying school more, and has also started to be comfortable wearing skirts rather than leggings. But she is said to have started to show some symptoms of PTSD, and has nightmares about her stepmother.

In her defence, the woman argued that the victim's bad behaviour had led to the bruising. In a letter which was read to the court, the woman implied that she had to pull the victim from the car and push her to go places.

The letter said the woman had loved the girl as one of her own children, and had always wanted to make her happy, but in recent times her worsening behaviour led to great deals of stress and annoyance. Incidents were described such as the girl refusing to get dressed or go to school, not eating or talking and refusing to go places or get out of the car.

The woman also argued that she had searched long and hard for help from Social Services, but never found anything worked to improve the victim's behaviour. She pointed to correspondence with school teachers as proof she had been trying to improve the situation.

But Judge Russell Finch said this was a criminal trial and it had no place to judge anything but her actions, which he described as rare crimes for Guernsey.

"It is the job of this court to ensure that in the future, children are spared from this kind of abuse, this kind of wicked behaviour is beyond that of decent people" he said.

In sentencing, Judge Finch also referred to messages sent between the woman and her partner, which detailed her anger at the victim, and how she had "sent her to bed with a smack", and other thoughts of what she wanted to do to the victim - while the defence said these were private messages used to vent frustration, the court took them into account in its sentence.

In total, the woman was given three years and six months in prison for each charge, but all to be served at the same time, so a total of three years and six months. There was also a supervision order given for when she is released.


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