Nursery nurses convicted of cruelty

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The Independent Online

Two nursery nurses who repeatedly pulled down the trousers of a two-year-old boy they were looking after were convicted of cruelty today.

The toddler, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was dragged by his legs across the nursery floor by one of the nursery staff after she had directed other children to poke him and remove his shoes.

Lisa Wymer and Rebecca Robbins were captured on CCTV mistreating him.

In the footage, shown to a jury at St Albans Crown Court in Hertfordshire, the little boy is seen to be holding his head and rubbing his eyes during the incident at the nursery in Welwyn Garden City, Herts.

Wymer, 22, of Arundel Drive, Borehamwood, Herts, and Robbins, 21, of High Street, Codicote in Hitchin, Herts, meanwhile appeared to be laughing and joking.

Both nursery nurses were dismissed from their jobs after the incident on December 17 last year.

They were accused of wilfully mistreating the child in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health and were both convicted of cruelty to a person under 16, a charge that both denied.

Prosecutor George Heimler told jurors: "The CCTV shows an episode of ill-treatment whereby (the child) becomes clearly distressed and endures a period of quite unnecessary affliction and suffering caused by these two defendants."

He said their behaviour was not what would be expected of "a reasonable person in loco parentis" and that it "smacks of bullying".

The CCTV footage showed the youngster being poked by about seven other children, some of whom were looking towards Wymer as if for approval.

She is then shown dragging him by his legs into another room, where she is shortly afterwards seen to be nudging him with her foot near his ribs, pulling his shoes off and starting to pull his trousers down as he lies on the carpet.

Robbins then stepped towards him and pulled his trousers down about two inches, revealing his pants and the top of his legs.

Lawyers for the defendants said the child had not been in distress and that witnesses who described the incident to the court had exaggerated or misinterpreted what had happened.

But the child's mother told the court her little boy had become clingy and quiet after the incident and did not want to return to the nursery.

Speaking after the verdict was delivered, Detective Constable Andy Moody of Hertfordshire Police's child abuse investigation unit, said: "The defendants denied causing any distress to the two-year-old since the incident was first reported to police, to the extent of putting the little boy's parents through the ordeal of a trial at court."

The women will be sentenced on October 22.