Teaching assistant who taped pupil, 7, to chair and shut her in storeroom during five month bullying campaign is guilty of child cruelty but WON’T face prison
- Rachael Regan, teaching assistant, is guilty of child cruelty against pupil
- She taped girl, 7, to a chair, shut her in storeroom and tied on shoes
- Jury at Bradford Crown Court took less than four hours to find her guilty
- They cleared Deborah McDonald, 41, of the same charge of child cruelty
- But judge said due to length of time passed Regan will not go to prison
- Regan, 43, is to be sentenced next year for 5 month bullying campaign
Rachael Regan is pictured leaving court today after she was found guilty of child cruelty after carrying out a five month campaign of bullying against a girl
A classroom assistant who taped a seven-year-old girl to a chair locked her in a storeroom and taunted her has been found guilty of child cruelty.
But despite carrying out the five month campaign where she ‘singled out and bullied’ the child, Rachael Regan has been told by a judge she will not go to prison.
The 43-year-old carried out a catalogue of bullying against the child which included tying her shoes on with string, hiding her doll and pulling her photograph off a wall before she tore it up. The girl also said she had post it notes put on her thumbs to stop her sucking them.
A jury of four men and eight women at Bradford Crown Court took less than four hours to find Regan guilty of child cruelty towards the child, who was a pupil at a school in Calderdale, west Yorkshire.
But the judge said as there had been such a long delay in hearing the case about the bullying, which started in 2012, Regan would not go to prison.
Deborah McDonald, 41, a teacher at the school, was cleared.
Simon Waley, prosecuting, told the court how the school had launched an investigation and police after the child told her mother she had been taped to a chair.
Mr Waley said: ‘She said that Mrs Regan put it all around the chair and it was hard breathing. She said that she couldn’t get out to reach her things.
‘She said that the whole class were laughing.’
The girl’s mother described the moment her daughter told her a teaching assistant had taped her to a chair as ‘heartbreaking.’
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the jury the young girl ‘clung’ to her ‘for dear life’ with tears streaming down her face after the incident.
She said: ‘It was just so heartbreaking to see her like that because (she) is so bubbly and outgoing and I have never seen my daughter so upset. She just clung to me for dear life.’
She told the court: ‘(My daughter) said one of the teachers had Sellotaped her to the chair and that all her class friends were laughing at her.
She said ‘They all thought I was funny. I was the clown. They all laughed at me.”’
Mr Waley also told the trial how the girl also told police that Regan had bound string to her legs and feet to keep her pumps on.
He said: ‘She said it was horrible and that, again, everybody had been laughing.’
The bullying took place between September 2012 and January last year.
Mr Waley told the court that other staff members at the school told police they had witnessed some of the incidents.
A jury at Bradford Crown Court took less than four hours to find Regan guilty of child cruelty
One support assistant said the girl’s arms were ‘fastened down by her sides with the Sellotape around her more than once’ and said she was taped to the chair for around 10 minutes.
She said Regan went to another classroom to fetch another teaching assistant to show her what she had done.
Deborah McDonald is pictured leaving court today after being cleared of a charge of child cruelty
Mr Waley said Regan told her colleague: ‘She’ll not get up and wander around the classroom now.’
He said Regan pulled a photograph of the girl off the wall and ripped it to pieces in front of her.
Regan had told the court that some of the incidents had been well intentioned and a ‘bit of fun.’
Mr Waley said: ‘In relation to some of (the incidents), the defence accept that they occurred but say that they were not malicious but rather well-intentioned and good-humoured incidents in which (the girl) had been a participant in the humour.’
Judge Neil Davey QC told Regan, of Illingworth, West Yorkshire, she will not go to prison when she is sentenced on January 8.
He said he was concerned about the length of time between the time of the incident and the trial.
The judge added that the young girl, who has not been identified and is now nine, had waited ‘a quarter of her lifetime’ to give evidence about what had happened and that Regan had spent more than a year on bail before she was charged.
Judge Davey said that he had decided not to pass a custodial sentence because of the delays.
Regan said ‘Thank you’ to the judge, who gave her bail until the sentencing hearing.
McDonald held her head in her hands after she was cleared and the two women hugged after they left the dock.
They left the court building together with supporters
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2861087/Teaching-assistant-taped-pupil-7-chair-shut-storeroom-five-month-bullying-campaign-guilty-child-cruelty-WON-T-face-prison.html#ixzz3KyPGr6IG
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