July 2019

Cruel foster carer who assaulted 11-year-old girl spared jail

A cruel foster carer who battered an 11-year-old girl and threw rubbish over her has been spared jail .

Jean Kirkland, 61, assaulted the girl who she was looking after while they were on holiday at a caravan park in Ayrshire leaving her with a ‘burst face’.

The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told a court she was kicked ‘like a football’ and made to lie on the floor ‘like a dog’ by Kirkland.

Her nose and lip were burst during the incident which saw a bag of rubbish tipped over her head and hot water poured onto her.

The girl was also attacked by Kirkland at a house attack in Blantyre , Lanarkshire.

Kirkland, of Ayr , went on trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court where she denied two charges of assault on the girl between January 2015 and August 2016 but was convicted.

She has now been placed on a 12 month restriction of liberty order banning her from leaving her home between 8pm and 8am.

Giving evidence from behind screens, the girl said she looked up to Kirkland as a mum but felt she had to report her because it ‘wasn’t right’ what was happening to her.

She also said Kirkland told her she would be out on the streets if she reported any abuse and that she would be sent to a children’s home.

Describing the caravan incident, she said: “It was the worst thing that happened to me, I was punched and kicked because I had accidentally hit the wall of the caravan with my knee.

“She told me to lie on the floor like a dog, threw a bottle at me and stood on my hand, and made me sleep on the floor.

“She was hitting me and my face was burst so she dragged me to the bathroom and put my head under the tap and said look at the state of your face.

“I then sat on the edge of her bed and she kicked me again, it was like a football. I was screaming.

“I was still wet and she sent me to the swimming baths with a phone and said to text her when I got there and say I had fell down the stairs and to come and get me.

“I did it and someone else asked what had happened to me and she said I had fallen down the stairs.

“I didn’t want to say what had really happened because I loved her as a mum and she took us on holiday and provided us with clothes but it wasn’t right and I’m not lying about what happened.

“She also poured hot water over me, it wasn’t enough to take my skin off but it was still really sore and she also tipped rubbish over me as well.”

The girl added: “I felt like I had nobody I could turn to over this and that is why I didn’t tell anybody what had happened, just a few of my friends.”

Sentencing Kirkland, Sheriff Marie Smart said: “Your behaviour towards this child was quite frankly appalling.

“She did not want to report what happened because she was threatened by you that she would be put in a terrible place if she did.

“You put this child through the ordeal of giving evidence against you and I had no difficulty in finding her to be truthful and reliable.”