Woman who beat daughter with coathanger spared immediate jail term

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Judge Peter Benson Judge Peter Benson

A Bradford mother was today spared an immediate jail sentence for beating her ten-year-old daughter with a plastic coathanger because she failed to answer a maths question correctly.

The woman, in her 30s, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, was given a six- month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with supervision and 100 hours of unpaid work for the community.

She was sentenced by Judge Peter Benson at Leeds Crown Court today.

During the woman’s trial at Bradford Crown Court last month, the jury was told the terrified child fled barefoot from her home in her pyjamas after her mother assaulted her.

She ran across two busy main roads before taking refuge in Bankfoot Spiritualist Church in Bowling Old Lane.

Her mother was convicted of causing her actual bodily harm and remanded on bail for the preparation of a report from the probation service.

Judge Benson asked for an "all options" report and warned the woman she could be facing a jail sentence.

During the trial, prosecutor Nigel Hamilton said the girl was shivering and crying when she went into the church. It was 9pm on January 10 and she was wearing only thin pyjamas.

The girl told members of the congregation her mother had beaten her with a plastic coat hanger on her arms when she failed to answer a maths question correctly.

The woman said her daughter tripped and fell while running downstairs after she shut her in her bedroom, turned out the lights and threw a spider at her.

She said the girl was frightened of spiders and she locked her in a dark pantry full of them to punish her when she was naughty.

The woman claimed the girl's injuries were carpet burns and a mark caused by a sharp door lock.

But the jury heard medical evidence that the injuries on the girl's forearms were consistent with being struck nine times with a straight-edged implement with "a significant severe force".

Mr Hamilton said that when the police went to the girl's home, her wardrobe door was open and there were two plastic coathangers on the bed.

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