Lower Clapton woman sentenced for whipping child

A woman who whipped a four-year-old girl with a belt to “chastise” her for swearing, was spared jail.

Leonata Alphonse, 40, of Monteagle Way, Lower Clapton, subjected the child to a cruel beating, leaving her with welts across her neck, back, legs and hips, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard last week.

The attack happened after staff at the girl’s nursery told Alphonse she had been heard swearing at another child.

Prosecutor John McNally said her “angry and domineering” reaction involved her smacking the girl three times on the hand before telling her she was going to beat her when she got home.

The girl did not attend school until two days later, when a nursery education officer noticed her wince while playing with a hoola hoop,

She said Alphonse had beaten her with a belt, resulting in welts on her hip and back.

Doctors later discovered an imprint from a buckle on her neck and linear marks across her legs.

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Alphonse said she believed her “techniques” on chastisement were lawful, the court heard.

Sentencing Alphonse to a six-month prison sentence suspended for a year and ordering her to complete 200 hours unpaid work, Judge Carol Atkinson said that she made the child’s life a “misery”.

Rebecca Randall, defending Alphonse, who has no previous convictions, said she was under extreme stress at the time due to family problems.

She added: “These offences are not indicative of the real woman that Ms Alphonse is.

“She is a decent woman who did try to do her best. She took the child in when she had nowhere else to go.”

Alphonse admitted a single count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Two further counts of cruelty to a person under 16 were left on the court file.