Nurses handed suspended jail terms for child 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 given suspended prison sentences for 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 and were convicted of cruelty to a person under 16 at St Albans Crown Court in Hertfordshire on October 1.

Sentenced at the same court, both were given 16-week prison terms suspended for 12 months.

They were also given six-month supervision orders and were told they must do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Detective Constable Liz Carey of Hertfordshire Police's child abuse investigation unit said: "I hope that today's sentencing will help the little boy's family put this incident behind them and move on.

"The family is very happy with the service delivered by the nursery and the support they have received throughout the investigation.

"The prompt reporting of nursery staff members and the procedures they have in place within the nursery to protect children have been instrumental in securing a successful prosecution today."

In the CCTV footage, 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, which both denied.

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.