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12 October 2010, 15:15
A man who left his eight-year-old son petrified after hosing him with freezing water as a form of punishment was given a suspended prison sentence today.
Police officers found the boy standing in the garden of the family home soaking wet, shivering and with blue lips in September last year.
His ordeal lasted for more than two hours as his father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, banished him outside for urinating and defecating inside the semi-detached house near Canterbury, Kent.
A woman visiting a friend raised the alarm after hearing the child screaming loudly and wailing so much that she at first thought it was an animal.
Margate Magistrates' Court heard that she saw a man in a dressing gown shouting and the boy ``rigid, with his shoulders hunched and an expression of being petrified''.
Prosecutor Ruth Dalziell said the woman tried unsuccessfully to telephone social services before hearing the man shout at the youngster: ``You won't p*** in my house.''
The 30-year-old father also told the terrified boy ``You aren't coming back in'' and ``You're staying there all day''. The woman also saw the father lunge at the boy and hit him on his head and shoulders, Ms Dalziell said.
She went on: ``She said that the male continued to shout and then went back into the house. The boy was rigid and was bright red and petrified.''
The woman eventually got through to social services and was advised to call police, by which time it had started to rain and the boy remained outside.
Ms Dalziell said: ``The male had a hosepipe and was chasing the boy around the garden spraying him with water. A couple of times he hit the child on the back of the head and the male continued to shout aggressively.''
When police arrived and offered the cold boy to step inside the house, he replied: ``No, I'm not allowed to move.''
In interview, the father denied hitting the boy and claimed the incident lasted no more than 20 minutes, but admitted hosing him with water.
Ms Dalziell said: ``He recognises that he was over the top but said that it was necessary to get the boy to consider his actions.''
At a hearing last month the father pleaded guilty to cruelty to the child, who is now in foster care. Magistrates handed him a 150-day prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He also received a 24-month supervision order to include attending a victim awareness course and ordered to pay costs of £600.
Chair of the Bench Linda Frampton told him: ``The reason for the custodial sentence is because this was a nasty attack on a vulnerable child whilst in a position of trust.''