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Mother jailed after branding smiley face on baby’s cheek with cigarette lighter



A mother who branded her 16-month-old baby’s cheek with a “smiley” mark using a cigarette lighter has been jailed.

Judge Philip Head said the woman’s actions were “wicked” as he sentenced the 25-year-old to four years in prison.

The mother denied three counts of child cruelty, which included pressing the hot end of a cigarette lighter into her baby’s cheek to brand her in May 2012. She appeared emotionless in the dock at Leicester crown court on Friday as the judge sentenced her.

Judge Head said: “You gravely abused your child.”

Speaking about the burn, the judge said: “There’s only one word for that: branding. You branded your own daughter’s face in an area that will be visible for the rest of her life. You branded your child in a deliberate and premeditated act. It was wicked.”

He added the fact the burn was clear meant she held her daughter “with some force”.

The judge added that he wasn’t sure if she set out to cause her daughter pain, but that she acted out of “curiosity and total iindifference to the pain demonstrably being inflicted upon her”.

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also convicted of neglect for failing to seek medical help for the burn on her daughter’s left cheek, as well as removing a cast and failing to attend a hospital appointment after her daughter suffered a broken leg.

The incidents all took place at a flat in north-west Leicestershire.

The woman’s lawyer, Justin McClintock, said his client was “naive and immature” but accepted she had caused “deeply unpleasant injuries” to her daughter. He added that she had lost custody of her children.

“These events all took place when she was an immature 22-year-old. She is unable to look after (her children) or act as their mother,” he said.

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