Kent

Canterbury father spared jail for hosing down son

A man has been given a 150-day suspended jail sentence for hosing down his eight-year-old son with cold water for using a drawer as a toilet.

The man, who is in his 30s and cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted an act of cruelty towards a child at Margate Magistrates Court.

A woman called police after witnessing the incident in Canterbury.

The boy's ordeal lasted for more than two hours as he was punished for urinating and defecating in the house.

The court heard police found the boy cold and shivering in the front garden in September 2009.

A woman visiting a friend raised the alarm after hearing the child screaming loudly and wailing so much that she at first thought he was an animal.

The court was told 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, who tried to telephone social services, heard the man shout at the youngster for urinating in the house.

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."

'Over the top'

The witness 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.

During an 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."

The child has since been taken into local authority care.

The father's 150-day sentence is suspended for two years.

He also received a two-year supervision order, to include attending a victim awareness course, and was ordered to pay costs of £600.

Following sentencing, head of the NSPCC's helpline John Cameron said: "This was a dreadful, sustained attack on a young, defenceless child, the sort of cruel act that has no place in decent society.

"We commend the member of the public who contacted the police after witnessing such terrible abuse."

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