A MOTHER in Chatburn used her mobile phone to record her four-year-old son being physically abused by her partner.
A court heard the audio recording lasted 14 minutes and there were two minutes of video footage showing the screaming boy being repeatedly slapped on the backside after being placed face down over his assailant’s knee.
An experienced police officer described the recording as “harrowing” and said it was the worst thing she had ever seen or heard.
In a police interview the 21-year-old abuser described himself as “vile” and said he had “properly tanned his arse”.
The 21-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Blackburn Magistrates’ Court to child cruelty. He was committed on bail to Preston Crown Court for sentence after magistrates ruled their powers were insufficient.
Miss Catherine Allan (prosecuting) said the couple had been living together in Chatburn at the time of the incident. The recording only came to light after the mother showed it to a friend, who told police.
Miss Allan said throughout the audio section of the recording there was the sound of someone being smacked and the sound of a child crying. The defendant could be heard shouting and swearing at the boy as he repeatedly hit him.
“Two minutes of video footage actually show him hitting the boy repeatedly as he was lying face down over his knee,” said Miss Allan. “He then made the boy stand in the corner before again putting him over his leg and hitting him. At one stage he grabbed the boy by the face. The child was clearly distraught.”
Miss Deborah Morgan (defending) said the circumstances of the incident were unusual. She said the boy had developed a habit of holding his breath and on several occassions lost consciousness as a result. On this occasion the boy stopped breathing and the defendant started slapping him to tell him not to hold his breath.
“It started off as chastisement, but he accepts it went way beyond that,” said Miss Morgan. “When it was over he wanted to go to the police, but the child’s mother confronted him with the footage. She said she would keep it in case it ever happened again and it should be a lesson to him.”
The child’s mother has been questioned by police and released on bail pending further inquiries.