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Four-year prison sentence for mother who branded “Smiley face” on baby daughter’s cheek with cigarette lighter (18 August 2015)

Date: 18/08/2015
Duncan Lewis, Child Care Solicitors, Four-year prison sentence for mother who branded “Smiley face” on baby daughter’s cheek with cigarette lighter

A mother who “branded” her baby’s face with a “Smiley face” using a cigarette lighter has been jailed for child cruelty at Leicester Crown Court.

The Mirror reports that the 25-year-old mother – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was 22 years old at the time of the assault on her 16-month-old baby. She branded her daughter’s cheek with the image in May 2012 at a flat in northwest Leicestershire.

The woman was also convicted of neglect for failing to seek medical help for the burn – as well as removing a cast and failing to attend a hospital appointment when her daughter’s leg was broken.

Her defence lawyer told the court that his client was “naive and immature”

But she accepted she had caused “deeply unpleasant injuries” to her daughter. He added that the woman had lost custody of her children.

At Leicester Crown Court, Judge Philip Head called the woman's actions “wicked” – and sentenced her to four years in prison. It is reported she showed no emotion in court.

“You gravely abused your child,” said Judge Head as he passed sentence.

Speaking about the burn the woman had inflicted on her daughter, he added:

"There's only one word for that – branding. You branded your own daughter's face in an area that will be visible for the rest of her life.

“You branded your child in a deliberate and premeditated act. It was wicked.”

He added the fact the burn was clearly marked on the child’s face, meant that the mother had held her daughter “with some force”.

The judge added that he was not sure if she set out to cause her daughter pain – but said she acted out of “curiosity and total indifference to the pain demonstrably being inflicted upon her”.

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