Mother 'failed' to protect four-year-old daughter from sexual abuse, court hears


A four-year-old girl who was sexually abused by her mother’s partner and had her mouth taped shut and legs bound together to prevent her from getting out of bed told her foster carer she was a “devil child”, a court has heard.

The toddler, who has not been named, has been permanently removed from the care of her mother after a family court judge ruled she had been living in “a harsh, critical and abusive environment”. She is now in the hands of a foster carer and is undergoing therapy.

The harrowing details of the case emerged in a written ruling by Judge Rebecca Brown, who presided over an earlier hearing at Milton Keynes Family Court in Buckinghamshire. She said the little girl’s new carer had kept a record of what she said and did, which was presented as evidence to the court.

Judge Brown concluded that the little girl had been sexually abused by her mother’s partner, who she referred to as “daddy”. Her mother, who was described as having “psychological and personality difficulties”, had failed to protect her from the abuse and had behaved in a sexually inappropriate way in front of her young daughter, the judge added.

The girl’s foster carer reported that she referred to herself as “devil child” and had once asked to wash her hands more than 50 times in one day. She also told her carer to “please tell daddy I’ve been good” and said her mother “headbutts me” and “bites me”.

Judge Brown said on one occasion the girl had said: “Shall I show what mummy does to me?” before picking up a strip of sticky tape and putting it over her mouth. She then used strips of the tape to bind her ankles together and said: “I stay in bed then don’t I?”

The girl’s foster carer also said she frequently asked for food, often putting crayons in her mouth, picking up waste food and even drinking vinegar. “She appears to have a compulsion to eat,” the judge wrote, adding that she also displayed a fear of being locked in either the bedroom or the house.

Ruling that the little girl should be put up for adoption, the judge said: “She is a damaged and extremely vulnerable little girl. She needs a great deal of care and attention and reparative parenting. I sincerely hope that [the girl] can be placed for adoption as she too needs and deserves a permanent family placement as soon as possible.”

Judge Brown did not identify the girl’s mother or her abusive partner, but said legal proceedings had started after concerns were raised by social workers. The mother had argued during the hearing that her daughter “told proven untruths” and should not be believed.