Mother denies she assaulted daughter

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A RELIGIOUS widow accused of assaulting her 14 year-old daughter claimed yesterday that she never hit her children.

The 38-year-old mother of four said she preferred to warn her children about 'undesirable' characters leading them astray.

She told Southwark Crown Court, south London, that bruising found by doctors was caused by the youngster staying out late with friends and being 'beaten up' by boys after the girls refused to go out with them.

When arrested, the mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said she was worried her child was mixing with 'undesirable characters' and had already been involved in shoplifting.

'I told her that we were a Christian family and she should not do that,' she told officers.

'I read the Bible to my children and try to correct them quietly - I do not hit them.'

On the night of the alleged assault, the mother said her daughter returned late from going out - and in tears.

'I asked her what was the matter and she said some boys had beaten her up along with her girlfriends from her school,' she told the court. 'I asked her why and she said it was because they refused to go out with them.'

Asked if she was ever violent towards the teenager, the mother said: 'Not at all.'

She said the morning of her daughter's complaint to police about the beating they had argued about school uniform.

She said her daughter had already told her that she wanted to be taken into care and share a flat with her friends.

She told the court her daughter believed it would allow her to travel, go out and 'have their own freedom'.

The trial continues today.