November 2016

Childminder has been jailed for 11 years for abusing a two-year-old girl in his care

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Childminder Christo Cruz has been jailed for 11 years for abusing a two-year-old girl in his care

Christo Cruz, 36, of Siskin Drive, Springbank, Cheltenham, denied abusing a girl but was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday.

The offence came to light when the girl’s mother arrived early to collect her from Cruz and found her lying on a changing mat crying in pain.

“You were providing professional child care services for this child,” he said. “That puts your culpability in the higher range of sentencing guidelines.

Father-of-two Cruz wept in the dock with his head in his hands after hearing the jury’s verdict.

After a brief adjournment Cruz asked to be sentenced immediately rather than have an adjournment for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

Jailing him for 11 years Recorder John Trevaskis said the offence was aggravated by the fact that Christo was in breach of the trust placed in him by the parents of the little girl.

“Having regard to the very significant impact that a custodial sentence will have on you and on your family I have come to the conclusion that the appropriate sentence is one of eleven years.

“You will be required to serve two thirds of that before you are released on licence. You will have to sign the sex offender register for the rest of your life.”

“Clearly something terrible happened on that day,” he added.

The court heard during the trial that Cruz and his wife had both qualified as childminders in 2011.

Prosecutor Sarah Regan said the mother of the little girl who was allegedly abused would normally collect her daughter from Mr Cruz at about 5:15pm.

Cruz was looking after the girl and one other child when the parents of both arrived early. The two mothers found the little girl lying on the changing mat crying as if in pain.

Mr Cruz told the mother he had been changing the girl when she screamed in pain. He lifted her legs to see if she was lying on something and suddenly saw blood, he claimed.

The mother put Sudocrem and a nappy on the child and took her home. She and her partner both tried to see what had happened but the child was upset and not wanting them to look.

They took the child to A&E where the internal damage was found.

Cruz was arrested and told police he was sat at the kitchen table playing with play dough when but then needed to change one of the girl’s nappies.

“The girl laid down on the mat and the other child sat next to me on my right hand side,” he said.

“I turned to get a clean nappy and she shouted ‘ouch’ and let out a scream.

“The other child jumped up and ran and stood by the table when the girl screamed and seemed in shock.

Cruz was informed that a paediatrician had explained how the injury could have happened but when Cruz was asked if he had any idea, he said no.

He was asked if he was sexually aroused by children but he said “no.”

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