Drunk mum gave girl, 8, a slapping

WHEN an eight-year-old girl wouldn't clean up a mess in the house her mother took away her TV, video games and computer.

But she didn't stop there.

The Rockhampton mother, who was drunk, went into her daughter's bedroom and first poked her in the temple with her sharp fingernail. Then she slapped her up to 15 times across her face with the back of her hand.

The woman then ran a steaming hot bath and told her daughter to get in.

The water was so hot it burned the little girl's leg and she had to sit on the edge of the bath to avoid being burned.

Frustrated, the mum phoned her daughter's stepmother and asked her to pick the child up, but she didn't have a car.

“No, come and pick her up now before I kill her,” the mother said over the phone.

When the stepmother arrived, the girl walked out crying.

“I don't want her back here until she learns some respect and some manners,” the mum yelled to the stepmother, who drove the girl to her father's workplace.

The father, who had joint custody of his daughter, phoned police who arranged to meet the little girl at Rockhampton Hospital, where a doctor could examine the injuries.

The girl had overlapping hand-shaped red rashes on her cheek, a swollen face and a skin rash on her thigh.

Later that night she answered a phone call from her mother asking her to return home, but she refused and had been living with her dad since the attack on October 7 last year.

The mum yesterday narrowly avoided jail time after pleading guilty in Rockhampton District Court to causing bodily harm to her daughter.

Defence barrister Jeff Clarke told the court the woman, 40, was an alcoholic as a result of a childhood trauma and was drunk the day she repeatedly slapped her daughter across the face.

“She accepts she behaved in an entirely inappropriate action. She is thoroughly ashamed,” he said.

He said the mum was unemployed and was going to work at a school canteen before her Blue Card was suspended when she was charged with the assault.

Crown prosecutor Majella LaPraik presented to the court a picture of two stick people the little girl had drawn depicting herself and her mother, as well as a letter from a psychologist and one from the school principal about behaviour problems in the classroom.

Mr Clarke showed the court reports from psychologists, which he said confirmed the mother was trying to rehabilitate.

“She's tried to rehabilitate and remained sober,” he said.

Judge Walter Tutt told the woman her abuse was “a stark example of deliberate child abuse”.

“Your counsel submitted that the physical injuries your child suffered were not lasting though her being slapped repeatedly and being poked by a woman of your size would have been painful enough,” he said. “The child, understandably, is terrified of you.”

Judge Tutt did not sentence the woman to jail, but ordered she be under supervision of a corrective services officer for three years and perform 150 hours community service.

The maximum penalty for assault occasioning bodily harm is seven years jail.

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