Glasgow & West Scotland

Woman admits battering boy aged eight at house in Ayrshire

Helen Stark Image copyright Campbell Thomas
Image caption Helen Stark admitted battering and injuring the child

A woman has admitted battering an eight-year-old boy and piercing his skin with a knife after being reported to police by a worried neighbour.

Helen Stark, 28, attacked the child over several days at a house in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire.

When police arrived she claimed the boy's injuries were accidental but later admitted guilt after doctors saw bruises, swelling and scratches on him.

Sentence on Stark was deferred and her bail was continued.

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard that when police confronted Stark she claimed that the witness who reported her was mistaken and she had been trying to stop the boy banging bottles of juice on the floor.

Psychiatric problem

Doctors who examined the child found extensive bruising to his head, neck, back and arms, along with swelling and various scratches and cuts "highly suggestive of non-accidental injury.

Stark, of Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire, admitted assaulting the boy by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with her hands, presenting a knife, holding it against him and puncturing his skin.

She repeatedly seized him and threatened violence, grabbed him by the hair and repeatedly struck his head against a door and window sill, all to his severe injury.

Jennifer Bain, defending, said Stark had a psychiatric problem involving unstable mood disorder, was possibly bipolar, had post-traumatic stress disorder and had been on medication for eight years.

Stark had experienced "a distressing incident when a fellow inmate set fire to herself in her cell and is extremely concerned about returning to where she witnessed the event," Mrs Bain added.

But Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane told Stark: "I find it galling to be told you were distressed by the incident in prison and yet you were not distressed by the injuries you caused to an eight-year-old boy."

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