Women jailed for subjecting boy, 5, to campaign of cruelty

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Two “callous” women have been jailed for almost seven years between them after subjecting a five-year-old boy to a campaign of cruelty - beating him with a stiletto, an iron rod, and locking him in a cupboard for hours.

A court heard the terrified little lad, who was aged between four and five when he was subjected to the “barbaric and vile” assaults, was “imprisoned” in the cupboard sealed shut with Sellotape while his mum and her friend went to the seaside for the day.

After his head was gashed by the stiletto, the women used Superglue to stick the wound together rather than taking him to hospital.

He would to “tremble” with fear when his mother’s friend picked him up from primary school and his lunch boxes became a cause for concern after the quality and quantity declined - and he started taking food from a snack table before putting it in his pockets.

But despite teachers recording 15 different injuries to the child in its incident log - including a bruised and swollen face and head, an injured back and a badly bruised shoulder - and nursery staff telling social workers three times about their concerns, nobody intervened.

The cruelty he endured at home was only revealed after he was eventually taken to hospital with a chin wound - and doctors uncovered other injuries on his little body.

Now his 40-year-old mum and her 29-year-old friend - neither of whom can be named and shamed so the young boy’s identity is protected - have been jailed after a jury found them both guilty of child cruelty.

The attacks happened between the summer of 2012 and the spring of 2014.

Bradford Crown Court heard the younger woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, beat the lad with metal bar or rod, striking him at least six times and cutting his chin.

This vile attack, in April of 2014, ended in a hospital trip for his chin wound - but while at hospital other wounds were uncovered by staff, and the real story of cruelty and cover-up was unveiled.

The two women were arrested soon and faced a trial where, on Wednesday a jury found them each guilty of two counts of cruelty to a child under 16.

The younger woman was also found guilty of two counts of unlawful wounding against a person.

The younger woman, described as “the dominant personality in this relationship” was jailed for four years, and the boy’s mum was handed a two-and-a-half year sentence.

Speaking today, Judge Peter Hunt said the woman became friends about four years ago - not long after that the older woman’s husband left her.

He went on to describe the younger woman’s relationship with the victim as “highly dysfunctional”.

“Despite the fact you were not a parent you took it upon yourself to mete out punishment of a very cruel nature indeed,” the judge added.

He described the incident with the iron bar as a “prolonged assault” and, after hitting him with the shoe, said she glued his head at home to “cover up what happened”.

Describing trapping the boy in the cupboard, Judge Hunt said you “forced this young child into a cupboard were he was effectively imprisoned”.

He added that the boy was stripped and left in the cupboard while the adults, and his sisters, “travelled to the seaside for a day out”.

Judge Hunt told her: “This is of course is a wicked thing to have done.”

Speaking to the boy’s mother, the judge told her she was meant to be “responsible with the duty to protect this child”.

“You chose in effect to look the other way and failed to intervene.”

He said the mum didn’t do anything to stop what was happening or stop her friend coming round.

Judge Hunt told the pair their cruelties showed the “wilful and callous sides of both of you”.

He said the child’s sisters saw some of the assaults and may have suffered psychological harm.

Before handing them their jail terms, Judge Hunt told the women: “People who behave in cruel an violent ways towards young children in their care must expect to serve prison sentences of significant leave.”

Both women remained impassive during to short hearing.

Emma Dowing, for the younger woman, said her client was of previous good character, and her family will struggle with what happened.

Ken Green, for the victm’s mum, said his client was now unsure whether she would ever see her children again.

Speaking after the sentence, Det Insp Mick Ryan, of the Bradford Safeguarding Unit, said: ‘These were appalling crimes committed against an innocent young boy who had no means of defending himself from people he knew and trusted.

“His mother, who should have protected him instead was compliant in her neglect of his welfare.

“The physical assaults he suffered can only be described as barbaric and vile, and I welcome the convictions knowing that he is now safe and enjoying a new life elsewhere.”