Sunday, 9 November 2014

Ex-Barnardo's Principal Jailed For Child Cruelty

The former principal of a Barnardo's children's home, who made a young girl's life a misery, taunting her that her mother didn't want her, making her the subject of cruel insults and washing her mouth out with soap is starting a three and a half year prison sentence.

Peter Hickman, 78, of Quarry Road, Chadlington, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire told the suicidal girl she was: "ugly, disgusting, a thief, a liar," while running Llanfair, Park Road, Beckenham in the 1960's.

The girl's ordeal, which also included being stripped naked to be roughly scrubbed by the defendant and having her face pushed into urine lasted between the ages of six and eight years-old when her parents sent her to the charitable home because they could not cope.

She tried to take her life, aged ten, but eventually came forward at the age of fifty-three to give evidence to a Croydon Crown Court jury, which convicted Hickman of one count of child cruelty between February 27 1968 and July 1969.

"This is a complete and utter breach of the position you were in and how anyone can behave like that to a little girl is inconceivable," Judge Warwick McKinnon told Hickman, who still maintains his innocence.

"You have shown absolutely no remorse, you are still in denial and your conduct has ruined this woman's life. She's attempted suicide on more than one occasion."

Llanfair was opened as a girl's home in April 1946, then became mixed and closed in 1969 and demolished soon afterwards.

Llanfair: House of Horrors
The victim, who later returned to the care of her family, told the court: "He told me time and time again that my mum didn't want me," adding Hickman deliberately cut off all her hair on her final day to add to her humiliation.

She overdosed on her mother's arthritis tablets and made more suicide attempts later in life.

Jailing Hickman, who in 1975 received four years for twelve counts of indecently assaulting Barnardo's boys, judge McKinnon added: "You were cruel to a six year-old girl routinely, month after month.

"You began verbally abusing her on the very first day she set foot in the home and were angry and aggressive.

"You ordered her to strip in the washroom and roughly scrubbed her body and washed out her mouth with soap, telling her you were going to wash the filth and lies out of her.

"You told her she was ugly and left her naked in the washroom, you pushed her face in urine after she wet the bed and when you force fed her and she brought it up you made her stand in the corner with her hands above her head.

"You hit her with a belt on her naked thighs and told her that her mum was coming to visit on her seventh birthday when you knew she was not coming, that was particularly psychologically cruel.

"On the very last day at the home you cropped her hair short, cut all her hair off."

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