Two daycare nurses walked free from court today after subjecting a two-year-old boy to a ”spiteful” and ”humiliating” attack in which they dragged him across a nursery floor by his leg.
Lisa Wymer (left), 22, and Rebecca Robins (right), 21, were seen laughing and joking as they abused the distressed toddler at the nursery in Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
Shocking CCTV footage played during a trial at St Albans Crown Court showed the toddler, who cannot be named, being dragged by Wymer across the nursery floor.
It also showed her appearing to direct other children to poke him and remove his shoes, before nudging him in the ribs with her foot and pulling his trousers down.
Robins stepped into the room and pulled down the boy’s trousers about two inches, revealing his pants and the top of his legs.
During the ten-minute long ordeal, the toddler holds his head in distress and rubs his eyes as Wymer and Robins are seen laughing and joking.
The pair were found guilty following a week-long trial at St Albans Crown Court last month but walked free from court with suspended sentences yesterday.
Wymer, of Borehamwood, Herts., and Robins, of Hitchin, Herts., were both handed 16 week sentences suspended for 12 months.
The pair were also handed a six-month supervision requirement and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
Sentencing, Judge Martin Griffiths said: ”You two together sparked each other off and launched a course of teasing that graduated onto humiliation to that boy which you clearly found funny.
”When he moved into the other room both of you inflicted more humiliation on him by pulling his trousers down and the final act of putting a hat on his head. At that time you can be seen laughing.
”In all it is about ten minutes spiteful teasing which resulted in a boy who previously loved the nursery not wanting to go and having nightmares for a period of time.
”One can understand this must have been a bad experience even for a two-year-old.
”What makes this case so serious is the way you behaved as nursery practitioners and he had been placed in your care by his parents specifically for you to behave properly and look after him.
”Parents are entitled and do place great trust in those employed to look after their children.”
Both nursery nurses were dismissed from their jobs at the privately-run hospital following the abuse on December 17 last year.
The pair both denied a charge of cruelty but were convicted by a jury at St Albans Crown Court on 1 October.
Lawyers for the defendants claimed the child had not been in distress and that witnesses who described the incident to the court had exaggerated or misinterpreted the incident.
But the child’s mother told the court the toddler he had become clingy and quiet after the incident and did not want to return to the nursery.
Franco Tizzano, mitigating for Whymer, said she had to close her Facebook account after a series of online threats from members of the public and felt a ”sense of deep shame”.
He said: ”Her conduct was a result of poor judgement and poor decision making and some stupid and childish behaviour and horseplay between her and Rebecca Robins.”
Maria Karaiskos, mitigating for Robins, said her client had been working as a nursery nurse since the age of 16 and will never be allowed to work with children again.
She said: ”This was five seconds of irresponsible and immature behaviour. This was entirely out of character and a spur of the moment decision. She failed to realise what she was doing.”
Both were convicted of wilfully mistreating the child in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health and were both convicted of cruelty to a person under 16.
A court order was made banning the publication of the toddler’s identity or the release of the CCTV footage.
Speaking after yesterday’s hearing, Detective Constable Liz Carey of the Child Abuse Investigation Unit at Hertfordshire police, said: ”I hope that today’s sentencing will help the little boy’s family put this incident behind them and move on.
”The family is very happy with the service delivered by the nursery and the support they have received throughout the investigation.
”The prompt reporting of nursery staff members and the procedures they have in place within the nursery to protect children have been instrumental in securing a successful prosecution today.”
She added: ”Any report of child neglect, abuse or cruelty is dealt with extremely seriously by the Constabulary and we have a dedicated team of detectives to investigate these cases.”