September 2016

Woman who battered and knifed eight-year-old boy jailed for 15 months


A WOMAN who left an eight-year-old boy with horrific injuries after battering and knifing him has been jailed for 15 months.

Helen Stark, 28, was arrested after the abuse was spotted by a neighbour looking through a window.

Stark claimed the neighbour was mistaken – saying she had been trying to stop the boy banging bottles of juice off the floor.

When police arrived at the door of the home where the beatings took place, inKilwinning , Ayrshire, callous Stark calmly said she had been expecting a window cleaner and claimed the little boy’s injuries were accidental.

But, Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard, doctors found injuries “highly suggestive of non-accidental injury” – such as extensive bruising to his head, neck, back and arms, swelling, scratches and cuts.

Stark, of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, admitted assaulting the boy by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with her hands, presenting a knife, holding it against him and puncturing his skin.

She also held her hands up to repeatedly grabbing the primary school boy and threatening him violence, grabbing him by the hair and repeatedly striking his head against a door and window sill, leaving him badly injured.

A portion of the charge was deleted which originally stated Stark, who had been looking after the boy at the time in August 2015, attacked him so badly that his life was put in danger.

Her not guilty plea to attempting to defeat justice, by threatening the youngster he would suffer more violence unless he gave false explanations for his “numerous” injuries, was accepted.

She was also cleared of wilful neglect and exposing him to suffering by repeatedly refusing to take him for medical treatment.

When Stark admitted her guilt defence counsel Jennifer Bain said she had a psychiatric problem involving unstable mood disorder, was possibly bipolar, had post-traumatic stress disorder and had been on medication for eight years.

She said she was terrified of prison as she had previously been in jail and experienced “a distressing incident when a fellow inmate set fire to herself in her cell.”

Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane called for background reports on Stark and released her on bail, telling her: “I find it galling to be told you were distressed by the incident in prison and yet you were not distressed by the injuries you caused to an eight-year-old boy.”

When Stark returned to the dock on Tuesday the sheriff ruled there was only one way she could deal with her and jailed her for 15 months.