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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Dad in court for hitting his children with belt

A FATHER has been in court for assaulting his two children with a leather belt.

The 32-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted two charges of wilful assault or ill-treatment after he struck his six-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son because their bedroom was messy.

Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard how the father, who has separated from the children’s mother, went into their bedroom to see if they had tidied it as he had asked.

Prosecutor Stuart Pattinson said the girl had knocked a curtain rail down and her father got the belt, which had a buckle, folded it over, and smacked them both on the bottom. “He hit them both once and told them to tidy their room,” he said.

“He later admitted that he went too far.”

The man, who has a baby with his new partner, heard a noise in their room and went to investigate, defence solicitor Geoff Clapp said.

“The curtain rail was down and they were both jumping on the bed and it buckled,” Mr Clapp said. “He said he had told them he would give them the belt. This was a punishment inflicted on him as a child.”

Mr Clapp said the incident had happened on a Saturday and life went on as normal until the next weekend.

“After it happened, the children tidied the room, as he asked, and came downstairs,” he said. “They weren’t crying, they didn’t say anything about it.”

He said they went swimming the next day and it wasn’t until the boy was with his mother on the Thursday that he later told her he had been given the belt. When he was due to return to his father, at 2.30pm on Saturday, she contacted him to say she wasn’t sending him back and children’s services were involved.

“Children’s services say he and his [new] partner are perfectly good parents,” Mr Clapp added. “The son is now living with his mother and there are proceedings going through the family court.

“He regrets very, very much that he did this. He said he went too far but didn’t appreciate it at the time.”

Mr Clapp said the man was under a lot of stress at the time, with a new baby and moving house. He hadn’t been sleeping well, he said.

Magistrates accepted it was a ‘one-off incident’ and gave the father a 12-month community order and ordered him to carry out 60 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £200 towards court costs.

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