A little girl has told a UK court how she witnessed her younger brother being beaten, stripped naked and locked in a cupboard while her mother stood by and watched.
Their 40-year-old mother and her friend were arrested in 2014 and charged with child cruelty offences, after doctors at a local hospital became suspicious that cuts and injuries to the boy’s body weren’t accidental, reports local newspaper The Telegraph and Argus.
The pair told hospital staff that the five-year-old had tripped while playing with his model aeroplane and cut his chin on a coathanger. But now his older sister has told Bradford Crown Court that she saw their mother’s friend inflict the wounds using a metal stick after first imprisoning him in a cupboard.
“She got him out of the cupboard and he was naked and she got tissue paper and wrapped it round the stick. It was metal and silver and small,” the girl said, according toThe Telegraph and Argus. “She put the tissue where she put her hand. First she hit him on the leg and then she hit him on the arm, and then she hit him on his face. He started bleeding from his chin.”
It’s also alleged the mother’s friend once struck the boy on the head with the heal of a stiletto shoe, then used superglue to “stick his hair back down” and cover the bleeding wound.
Police have alleged that abuse like this occurred on numerous occasions between August 2012 and April 2014, including one incident in which the boy was locked alone in the cupboard for 10.5 hours.
The court heard that he was placed in there by the mother’s friend at 11am while she and the family went on a day-trip to Blackpool. He was not let out until 9:30 that evening, having been sealed in with sticky tape and left with nothing but water, chocolate, lollies and oranges.
It’s being alleged that the woman imprisoned the boy there whenever she visited the home, and even occasionally sealed the cupboard with stickytape or a chest of drawers to prevent him from escaping.
“First she told us to take his clothes off and then she would put him in the cupboard,” one of his sisters told the court.
“He whispers in the cupboard. He stays in there until she goes home.”
Both women are facing two child cruelty charges, while the mother’s friend is also up against two additional allegations of unlawfully wounding the child.
They’ve both pleaded not guilty to all counts. The trial continues.