October 2017: Released and living back in Sunderland
Sentence doubled for brutal Sunderland woman who burned children’s eyes with chilli
A woman who burnt children and rubbed chilli into their eyes has had her “unduly lenient” jail term doubled by top judges.
Rahma Sultana, 35, hit a girl on the head with a glass bottle, drew blood by biting her, stabbing her with pens and burned another child with hair straighteners and slapped a baby repeatedly for being sick, London’s Criminal Appeal Court heard.
Sultana, of Killingworth Drive, Sunderland, denied harming any of the children but was convicted of three counts of child cruelty at Newcastle Crown Court in June this year and jailed for two and half years.
However, that sentence was attacked as far too soft by Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC, who referred the case for top judges to look at again.
Lord Justice Fulford, sitting with Mr Justice McDuff and Mrs Justice Elizabeth Laing, ruled the sentence too lenient and doubled it to five years.
The court heard that Sultana inflicted cruel punishments on the children for “minor misdemeanours”, including burning with hair straighteners, biting until blood flowed and stabbing with a pen.
Tom Moran, for Sultana, agreed she was treated leniently but insisted that her sentence was long enough
He added that she was the only strict Muslim woman in her prison, and therefore would have a more difficult time behind bars.
But Lord Justice Fulford ruled that her religion was not enough to save her from serving the sentence she deserved.
Upping her term, he said: “This defendant deliberately assaulted the children.
“This was serious abuse of a position of trust and the older children suffered significant injuries. The youngest child was just an infant.
“She took steps to ensure that the injuries were not discovered.
“She was quite prepared to devise and inflict wholly inappropriate punishments, having uttered threats hours earlier.
“The older children have been psychologically affected by the cruelty they endured.
“We agree that the sentence was unduly lenient. The consequences for the children are likely to be considerable.
“The overall proper sentence should have been five years imprisonment,” the judge concluded.
Members of her community – including the Sunderland Bangladeshi Centre manager
– gave character references, saying she was highly thought of and “polite
Woman jailed for rubbing chilli into girl’s eyes and privates
A WOMAN who rubbed chilli into a schoolgirl’s eyes and private parts has been put behind bars.
Rahma Sultana carried out a campaign of sickening violence on two victims, who have been left scarred for life.
Newcastle Crown Court heard one girl was burned with hair straighteners, bitten on the hands, hit over the head with a glass bottle, had chilli powder rubbed in her eyes and fresh chilli rubbed into her private parts.
A second, younger girl was stabbed with a pen, bitten, burned with straighteners and punched.
Judge Simon Hickey said the brutal behaviour was “inexcusable” as he sentenced Sultana to two and a half years behind bars for child cruelty.
Sultana, 35, of Killingworth Drive, Sunderland, had denied child cruelty but was found guilty after a trial.
Her denials meant the scared victims had to relive their ordeal from the witness box and be branded liars.
The judge added: “Those children were called, effectively, liars and that they had fabricated their accounts when quite the reverse was true, it was you who was the liar.
“In my judgment you are a manipulative, devious woman. You never owned up to what you should have done, and you put those children through the second ordeal of giving evidence.”
The court heard both girls have been left with permanent scars on their bodies.
One medic said in a statement: “Unfortunately, the scars are permanent and a reminder of this ill treatment.”
Sultana was arrested when the older victim told a member of staff at her school what had been going on.
Prosecutor Katherine Dunn told the court the victim spoke about incidents of physical abuse and the fact she had chillies rubbed into her eyes.
Miss Dunn said there were incidents when the victim was slapped, had a fresh chilli held against her private parts and had her hands bitten and hair pulled.
Both girls bravely detailed their ordeals to police.
The second youngster told how during the assaults she would be stabbed with a pen.
Miss Dunn said the girl revealed Sultana would break the skin and move the pen around, leaving numerous scars across her shoulder blades.
When Sultana was confronted by officials over what she had done she “wailed and prayed”.
Tom Moran, defending, said Sultana had hoped to become a doctor.
References to the court from members of her local community, including the Sunderland Bangladeshi Centre manager, spoke of her being highly thought of and “polite and courteous”.