A call to the children’s charity NSPCC helped bring a Tyrone father to justice for beating his young son and daughter with a belt.
Last week at Dungannon Magistrates Court, the man admitted charges of child cruelty by wilful ill-treatment and assault in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health.
According to a news report from the BBC on the case, a classroom assistant noticed that the little boy had swelling and bruising to his nose.
She asked how this had happened and the boy said he had been doing his homework and was finding it very hard.
His father had hit him in the face causing the injuries.
Whilst this was noted, the school did not report it and opted to monitor the situation.
Just over four months later on 7 August 2012 the NSPCC contacted police to say an anonymous caller had reported the two children had told her their father beat them with a belt, and proceeded to show marks.
On being spoken to initially the little girl said this had not happened to her, but later claimed both her father and step-mother beat her with a belt.
The children were medically examined and a report found marks on the boy “could be consistent with belt marks”.
Having been removed from the family home, the little boy gave a video-interview in which he stated both he and his sister were beaten with a belt by their father and step-mother.
The man, who was accompanied in court by his wife, was ordered to appear for sentencing next month.
He was warned by the judge: “I strongly advise you to co-operate with probation. These are very, very serious charges.”
A spokesperson for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children [NSPCC] said: “This case sends out a strong message that cruelty to children will not be tolerated.” The NSPCC hotline number is 0808 800 5000.