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Sadistic mother-of-eight found guilty of abusing her children with belt, meat mallet, hot screwdriver and even a garlic crusher

Posted on: November 19, 2009

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Sadistic mother-of-eight found guilty of abusing her children with belt, meat mallet, hot screwdriver and even a garlic crusher

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 6:29 PM on 19th November 2009

 

A sadistic mother-of-eight has been found guilty of subjecting six of her children to a ‘sickening’ six-year campaign of abuse and neglect.

The 37-year-old beat her children – aged between four and 16 – with objects including a belt, a broken coat hanger and a meat-tenderising mallet, a court heard.

She was found guilty of 18 charges of abuse including scratching one of her daughters with a knife and burning another with a hot screwdriver.

Weapons: Three of the implements that the 37-year-old beat her children withWeapons: Three of the implements that the 37-year-old beat her children with

DS Tim Underhill from Cambridgeshire Police with some of the weapons used in a child abuse caseDS Tim Underhill of Cambridgeshire police’s child abuse investigation unit holds up the weapons used on the children. He said: ‘The house was untidy and cluttered. It smelt and there were no, or very few, toys around.’

Cambridgeshire County Council admitted monitoring the family since 1999 yet charges were only brought on the mother after two children discussed the abuse with a teacher.

The mother, a Jamaican national living in Cambridge, was found guilty of 18 charges including nine counts of assaulting a child under 16 in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering with injury to the child’s health.

She was also found guilty of one count of affray and two counts of witness intimidation.

Her reign of terror against her children lasted from January 1 2002 to July 1 2008, the court heard during a five-week trial.

ONE OF THE ABUSED CHILDREN:

‘I thought she was going to hit me until I died.

‘She hit me on the head with the garlic crusher and grabbed me round the throat. I was crying and putting my hands up to stop her.

‘She said “I am going to slice your throat with the knife”. I could hardly breathe and she cut me with the knife she was holding in her hand’

The allegations came to light when two of her daughters told teachers at their school that they were being mistreated.

On one occasion, the woman locked up two of her daughter’s school friends in the family home after they witnessed her violence towards her daughter.

They saw her hit her daughter with a meat mallet and garlic press and threaten to slit her throat with a knife if she did not move her hands out of the way.

Summing up the case, Judge Jonathan Haworth read an extract from video evidence from the girl who suffered the attack.

She said: ‘I thought she was going to hit me until I died.

‘She hit me on the head with the garlic crusher and grabbed me round the throat. I was crying and putting my hands up to stop her.

‘She said “I am going to slice your throat with the knife”. I could hardly breathe and she cut me with the knife she was holding in her hand.’

The mother subjected her children to a catalogue of abuse and smacked them with a belt, leaving buckle marks on their skin.

On one occasion the mother heated a screwdriver to mend a toy and then used it to burn her daughter on the thigh and buttock areas, leaving scars.

Two of the children aged just 12 and 14 said they did the shopping and cooking for the family and looked after their younger siblings while their mother lay in bed watching TV.

The mother even sent her young daughters out late at night to find ice for her drinks. Rather than return empty-handed, the youngsters often hid in a park overnight to avoid being attacked.

The woman was heavily pregnant when the allegations were made and has since given birth to her eighth child. All of her children are now in care of the social services.

One of her daughters told the court that she had considered suicide.

She said: ‘I was bullied at school, beaten and burned by my mum. My life was terrible.’

When police arrested the mother, they found the house dirty, with no food in it and no sheets on the children’s beds.

Medical reports said doctors found scars and marks on the children which could not have been from accidental injuries.

The children’s teachers described them as quiet and withdrawn and noticed that one of her sons was always cold and hungry, eating second and third helpings of school dinners.

They were concerned at times that the girls were fending for themselves and appeared frightened of their mother.

In her defence, the mother claimed that a former partner used to beat her and hit the children with a belt and that her children and their friends had made up the allegations.

She admitted slapping them but not using weapons.

She told a parent of one of her children’s friends: ‘Tapping them is different from hitting. I loved my kids, I still do. I did not do these things to them.’

Georgina Gibbs, defending, said that witness reports about the house being messy and smelling of urine did not indicate that the children were being neglected.

Cambridge City Council admitted that they had been aware of the situation since 1999, but despite ‘ongoing monitoring’ the children were only recently taken into care.

A spokesman said: ‘We acted as soon as these allegations came to light and the children were immediately taken into care.

‘Social care teams offered extensive support when the family first came to our attention in 1999, and the situation improved significantly when a relative moved into the family home.

‘There was ongoing monitoring of the family situation by all the relevant agencies.’

Peter Bradley, deputy director of national children’s charity Kidscape, described the abuse as ‘sickening’.

He said: ‘If you’ve got six children, over a six year period, showing signs of serious physical harm, it begs the question as to why there was no intervention earlier.

‘This seems to be part of an ongoing problem with social services nationally where departments are not joined-up in their thinking process and are not sharing information effectively.

‘This has been the failing of many social services around the country which needs to be addressed urgently.

‘In this case the child who reported the abuse was braver than social services themselves who should have been there to protect those children.’

Detective Superintendent Tim Underhill of Cambridgeshire police’s child abuse investigation unit described the state of the house when they arrived.

He said: ‘The mother was arrested and her children taken into care on the same day that the children reported the situation at school.

‘The house was untidy and cluttered. It smelt and there were no, or very few, toys around.’

DCI Karen Rowell, also of the child abuse investigation unit, said the trial had been ‘particularly harrowing’.

‘I would like to thank all of the children involved who have all been incredibly brave throughout,’ she added. ‘I hope the children will be able to move on with their lives.’

Sentencing will take place on December 7.

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