slap her

Woman, 21, who lost her temper and slapped a one-year-old girl with ‘adult force’ leaving a large red mark is spared jail but blasted by judge for her ‘entirely inappropriate’ behaviour

  • Hayley Francis, 21, faced court for slapping a one-year-old girl with ‘adult force’
  • The child was left with a large red mark which was spotted by nursery staff 
  • Judge Paul Darlow described slap as having ‘adult force’ 
  • Francis pleaded guilty and was handed a 12-month community order 
Hayley Francis, 21, struck the girl after losing her temper with the tot, Plymouth Crown Court heard. She was given a 12-month community order and ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs plus the standard victim surcharge of £35

Hayley Francis, 21, struck the girl after losing her temper with the tot, Plymouth Crown Court heard. She was given a 12-month community order and ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs plus the standard victim surcharge of £35

A woman who slapped a one-year-old girl with ‘adult force’ leaving a large red mark has been spared jail by a Crown Court judge.

Hayley Francis, 21, lost her temper and struck the girl, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

The injury was spotted by nursery staff and doctors later confirmed the red mark must have been caused by a slap.

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Francis, from Plymouth, Devon, had initially denied striking the child but later pleaded guilty to the offence. She was today handed a 12-month community order.

The court heard she came up with a string of possible explanations and later tried to blame someone else.

But she then pleaded guilty to cruelty toward a child in February last year.

Sally Daulton, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said staff at the girl’s nursery noticed she was unwell with a temperature.

She added: ‘They also noticed a red mark above the nappy line which they believed resembled a smack mark.’

Mrs Daulton added staff took photographs, called social services and the girl was taken to hospital.

She said that medical experts confirmed the only way the bruise could have been caused was through a slap.

Judge Paul Darlow said the blow had been described as having 'adult force'. He added: 'It was an entirely inappropriate way of looking after or controlling her'

Judge Paul Darlow said the blow had been described as having ‘adult force’. He added: ‘It was an entirely inappropriate way of looking after or controlling her’

What is child cruelty, in the eyes of UK law?

Cruelty to a child is any action by a person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child either in the form of physical, sexual, emotional or by neglect.

Determining cruelty against a child and the appropriate sentencing is based on culpability demonstrated by the offender and harm on the victim.

There are three levels of culpability courts need to assess, high, medium and lesser.

Harm is also determined under three categories to assess the psychological, developmental or emotional damage.

Lesser cases can result in a six-month sentence and/or a community order.

Extreme cases of abuse can carry a maximum sentence of 10 years jail.

 Sources: Sentencing Council and NSPCC

The girl suffered no long-term ill effects, the court heard.

William Parkhill, defending for Francis, said: ‘She has lashed out with significant force but it is what it is. The discomfort suffered would have been very limited.’

He added that she was immature for her age and had showed remorse for what she had done.

Handing her a community order, Judge Paul Darlow said the blow had been described as having ‘adult force’.

He added: ‘You slapped this very young child, no doubt arising from a momentary loss of temper or exasperation with the way the child was behaving.

‘It was entirely inappropriate.’

Francis was given a 12-month community order with 20 days of probation supervision under the service’s Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

She must pay £500 towards prosecution costs plus the standard victim surcharge of £35.

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