A sacked nursery worker has been jailed for three and a half years for throttling a toddler she was child minding.

She was also banned for life from working with children.

The 21-month-old boy turned blue and was semi-conscious after Sarah Joyce lost control in anger and frustration, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Joyce, 24, a mother of two, attacked the child at her home in Midland Terrace, Manningham, Bradford.

She pleaded guilty to causing him grievous bodily harm with intent.

Prosecutor Gillian Batts said the boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, suffered life-threatening strangulation. “This was a sustained assault, using forceful pressure, that lasted at least 20 seconds,” Miss Batts said.

Joyce began caring for the boy as an unregistered childminder after she was sacked from Bon Bons Day Nursery, in Shipley, in October 2007, the court heard.

Miss Batts said Joyce was dismissed because she was abrupt with the children and her attitude to other staff members caused concern.

Joyce was later to say she did not bond with the boy and was “going through the motions”.

He had been at Joyce’s home for an hour on June 9, 2008, when she rang his father saying his son had stopped breathing.

The man found the boy semiconscious, with a blue face, and called an ambulance.

The toddler was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary where he recovered after a week of extensive tests.

His face was covered in small red spots, he was discoloured round his eyes and there was a mark across his neck.

Doctors said the boy suffered a strangulation injury, suffering compression of the neck for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Joyce told police he must have injured himself on the cord from a toy microphone. She said he was difficult to feed and she pulled him back by his bib.

Miss Batts said the Crown rejected this explanation.

The court heard the child’s mother felt broken and tortured by what had happened to her son.

Joyce had one previous conviction for racially-aggravated harassment.

Her solicitor advocate, Michael Reeves, said she was “ashamed, shocked and remorseful”. She was suffering from depression and stress at the time.

The judge, Recorder Edward Bindloss, said the reasons for the attack remained a mystery.

Joyce was not suffering from a psychiatric illness but her over-controlled behaviour may have triggered the violence.

Fortunately, she came to her senses and called the boy’s father.