Carer who dragged teen by the ankles convicted of child cruelty

Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court

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A carer who dragged a teenage boy with autism along a corridor at a Lancashire care home has been convicted of child cruelty.

Laura Hartley, 25, was frustrated with the youngster as he was refusing to have a bath - and dragged him by the ankles to the bathroom.

You have been convicted on very clear evidence on the charge of child cruelty

Judge Brown

When confronted by a co-worker, Hartley, an education care mentor at Beacon Reach, Ribchester, said: “You’ve just got to do whatever to get them in there.”

The boy - who can not be identified for legal reasons - suffered a small injury to his back where it had been in contact with the floor.

Preston Crown Court heard the youngster suffers from severe autism and on April 8 had

been uncooperative about going for his bath.

Hartley and co-worker Rebecca Armer tried to guide the youngster from his bedroom to the bathroom

But halfway down the corridor, the youngster dropped to the floor and refused to go any further. Hartley grabbed the boy by his ankles and pulled him into the bathroom.

Miss Armer was so shocked by what she had seen she spoke to a colleague the following day. Another carer, who bathed the teenager the following day, spotted the graze on the boy’s lower back and recorded it in the care home’s safeguarding records.

Hartley, could not explain how the injury had happened but claimed Miss Armer was telling lies.

Trial judge Mark Brown, pictured, said: “There is a very important public interest in this sort of case.”

Hartley broke down in the dock when the jury returned a verdict of guilty after less than two hours of deliberations.

She was granted bail but must reside at her home in Amberwood Drive, Blackburn, until she returns to court to be sentenced on January 22.

Judge Brown said: “You have been convicted on very clear evidence on the charge of child cruelty.”

He ordered a report to assist him with sentencing in January.

Beacon Reach released a statement which said: “This was an isolated incident that was dealt wqith in line with Beacon reach policy. No other children were involved. This will lead to her dismissal from emplyment at Beacon Reach.”