South West Wales

Children at Bright Sparks nursery in Taibach 'force-fed'

Katie Davies, Shelbie Forgan and Christine Pinchess Image copyright Athena
Image caption Katie Davies, Shelbie Forgan and Christina Pinchess (l-r) all deny child cruelty charges

Children at a nursery were visibly distressed after being force-fed and picked up by their wrists before being dropped to the floor, a court heard.

Swansea Crown Court was told Bright Sparks in Taibach, Port Talbot was closed after concerns were raised about the way its owner, her deputy and a member of staff had treated children.

Former owner Katie Davies, assistant manager Christina Pinchess, and Shelbie Forgan are accused of child cruelty.

They deny the charges against them.

Prosecutor David Scutt told jurors concerns were first raised in 2015 by a college student who had been on a work placement.

Mr Scutt said: "The children of these ages [at the nursery] required the utmost care and attention as well as a lot of patience.

"They were not always treated with the care and attention as well as the degree of patience needed for small children who cannot look after themselves.

"There is no suggestion that these children were badly beaten or badly injured. But the children concerned.... were distressed and traumatised by their treatment."

Image copyright Google

The court heard Bright Sparks opened in 2014 and had places for up to 19 children - from babies to eight-year-olds.

Mr Scutt said in late 2015 a student called Natasha Walsh-Jones had seen Ms Davies and Ms Forgan force feed a toddler who refused their food.

The court heard Ms Davies "held" the child's head as Ms Forgan "forced" food in the child's mouth before moving their jaw up and down.

Jurors were told the alleged incident lasted "10 minutes" with both defendants described as "laughing".

Mr Scutt said Ms Walsh-Jones later decided to end her placement early.

The court heard that in separate incidents Ms Pinchess had tried to stop a child from crying by covering his mouth with their hands.

The Crown also says she picked up another child by their wrists before they were "dropped to the floor".

Of the latter, Mr Scutt said instances like that happened with "some sort of continuity and commonality".

The trial also heard daily diaries for children were "falsified" with wrong information "deliberately" written in.

Jurors were told all three defendants "emphatically denied" any ill treatment when interviewed by police.

Mr Scutt added: "The central issue here is: Did these things happen?"

The alleged offences are said to have taken place during a four-month period starting in late 2015.

The nursery was closed last year.

Ms Davies, 32, of Port Talbot, is accused of one count of causing cruelty to a person under the age of 16.

Ms Pinchess, 31, of Cwmavon, faces six charges of causing cruelty to a person under the age of 16.

Ms Forgan, 22, of Port Talbot, is accused of three counts of causing cruelty to a person under the age of 16.

The trial continues.

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