Jail for cruel babysitter who put girl into freezer

A BABYSITTING scaffolder who forced a four-year-old girl into a freezer at an Edinburgh home has been jailed for more than four years.

Stuart Kitt inflicted the “cruel and wilful” attack on the youngster in October 2007, leaving her with permanent burn marks.

He even tried to blame the assault on the child’s mother, meaning the girl had to give evidence in court by video link, during which she broke down.

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The jury at Edinburgh Sheriff Court found the 33-year-old guilty and he was yesterday sentenced for dragging her by her ankles and placing her arms into the freezer cabinet.

He had been acting as her babysitter at an address in the city, but the location and the girl’s name must be kept private to protect her identity.

After the verdict was delivered, Fiscal depute Ian Wallace said: “According to information from the girl’s father, in the weeks afterwards she suffered nightmares and often became very upset.”

Mr Wallace said this had “eased” and medics now described the girl as “flourishing”.

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Sheriff Kenneth Maciver told the court he had enough information about the child’s welfare and evidence from doctors to sentence Kitt straight away.

He gave Kitt three years for the attack on the girl and 15 months for twice failing to appear at court, and described Kitt’s crime as a “nasty and vicious assault”.

He said: “The word cruel has been used and I think it’s fair.

“My main concern in sentencing is what type of effect this assault will have.”

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During the trial the girl, now eight, said in her evidence: “He put me in the freezer and they [the girl’s arms] burned.

“He just lifted me up and put me in. It was really sore.”

The court heard how Kitt threatened to kill anyone she told about the incident, and how he had attempted to blame the mother, but that accusation had been “totally wrong”.

The child’s mother was working in a local pub at the time the injuries were inflicted, but initially thought the marks on her daughter’s body had been caused by an allergic reaction to new cushions. She even called NHS 24 to report that, but two days later when the wounds did not subside, the girl explained what had happened.

Jurors were shown pictures of injuries to the infant caused by putting her arms in the freezer, which were taken at the Sick Kids hospital in the Capital.

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One showed white markings on the girl’s throat, and others revealed views of her left foot, her lower back and her bottom.

As well as pictures of the girl’s injuries, jurors saw images of a Hotpoint freezer in the kitchen of a flat.

Despite the evidence against him, Kitt continued to try to blame the mother, saying in his evidence: “I would never do that to a kid.”

A consultant paediatrician told the trial that the girl had needed “psychological input” since the incident and “will probably carry this all her life”.

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