Women Escape Jail Over Toddler Fight
Updated: 19:04, Friday April 20, 2007
Four women who forced toddlers to attack each other with weapons and filmed the fight have been spared jail.
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The children's mother Zara Care, along with her sisters Serenza and Danielle Olver and her mother Carole Olver, forced the kids to punch each other in the face.
The women also goaded the two-year-old boy and three-year-old girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, to hit each other with a magazine and a hairbrush.
When one did not fight, they called him a "wimp" and a "faggot".
The fight, filmed on a home video recorder, was found by the children's father who is in the Army and had returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.
He had been looking for some footage of his children playing to show their grandparents, but instead found the fight and reported it to social services.
All four women, from North Prospect, Plymouth, Devon, had pleaded guilty to child cruelty and were given 12-month sentences suspended for two years.
They also were each ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service and banned from working with children.
Judge Francis Gilbert, sentencing at Plymouth Crown Court, said: "You were cruel, callous, clearly causing the children to hurt each other for your own pleasure."
During the fight, both children were at different times reduced to tears and were shouted at to carry on, the court heard.
Care, 21, pleaded guilty to causing or procuring the children to be ill-treated in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury.
Danielle, 19, Serenza, 29, and Carole Olver, 48, pleaded guilty to jointly inciting the ill-treatment of children.
In police interview, Carole Olver said: "I didn't see any harm in toughening them up - I done the same with my own children."