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22 November 2011, 15:33
A Witham babysitter who pinched, bit, strangled and scalded a three-year-old boy has been jailed for nine years.
The abuse by Karen Victory, 28, came to light in February when she contacted paramedics, fearing the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was dead.
When hospital staff examined him they found at least 40 injuries including bite marks on his thighs, groin and buttocks.
A doctor described them as "the worst non-accidental injuries'' he had ever seen, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said that she told police "hour after hour of wicked lies'' to cover up her abuse.
Describing her 999 call, Mr Jackson added: "She said her daughter had been playing a game involving scarves being tied around his neck.
"She said she had gone into the bedroom and found the victim lifeless on a bed.
"She was worried she might have killed him. Later, she started telling the truth, saying, 'I have bitten him everywhere to get him to shut up'.''
Paramedics reported the injuries to police and Victory was arrested.
It later emerged that, on an earlier occasion, she had badly injured his feet after holding them under scalding bath water.
Victory, of Witham, Essex, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent at an earlier hearing. She had previously admitted unlawful wounding, cruelty and assault.
She sobbed uncontrollably in the dock and said "I'm so sorry'', as she was sentenced today. She sat with her fingers in her ears as the judge described her crimes.
Sarah Vine, in mitigation, said Victory's parents had died at a young age and she had grown up in foster care. She found herself vulnerable and in an "appallingly violent'' relationship.
She added: "However horrific these offences were and whatever level of revulsion they quite properly provoke in the minds of those who have heard about them, this was not an act of sadism.
"Her behaviour, whilst appalling and shocking, was at its heart an overspill of the most tragic kind - an overspill of unmanaged and unaddressed emotions.
"I cannot say enough on her behalf to express her remorse. She does not weep for herself.''
Jailing her, Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC said: "He was not your child but you were looking after him as a minder and you had the responsibility of caring for him for a few weeks.
"When paramedics found him he was limp and appeared to be dead.
"He was taken to hospital and hospital staff found some 40 injuries. He screamed when touched.''
Victory was barred from working with children for the rest of her life.