Teenager tells court: "I do not want to go home"
*A warning that this story contains information which some readers may find upsetting.
A Douglas man who beat his teenage daughter with a belt, and banged her head repeatedly against a wall, has narrowly avoided being sent to prison.
At Douglas Courthouse today (26 September) the 47-year-old, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was sentenced for wilfully assaulting his child between 1 and 22 December last year.
The man repeatedly hit the girl with various items, including a slipper, and struck her with his fist and the palm of his hand; she suffered injuries to her knuckles, wrists, face, knees and shins.
He also made her kneel in a praying position telling her: “What have I done to deserve such a horrible daughter?”
Messages sent in a family WhatsApp group, to the girl, were said to be ‘controlling’ and included threats to pull her out of school.
The teen had referred the matter to the Department of Health and Social Care and her father was later arrested; she was taken into foster care.
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"I do not want to go home"
Today a victim impact statement, written by her, was read to the court in which she described being scared of not being believed.
“What my dad did was wrong,” she said: “I told the truth.”
Describing how she felt her father was trying to ‘isolate’ her from the world she said being in foster care had allowed her to ‘finally be a child’ adding: “I do not want to go home.”
The girl told the court she no longer prays because her father was ‘very religious’ and it brings back bad memories adding: “It was only when he became more obsessed with religion that he began to change.
“I am annoyed that people think my dad is a nice person because of how he presents.”
"He is a loving father"
The man’s advocate told the court he was unable to justify his client’s behaviour but that he had learnt from it.
“He is a loving father - he just got his parenting seriously wrong,” he told the court: “This is not a man who does not love his daughter.
“He realises the enormity of his actions; he’s committed to doing whatever it takes to be a better man.”
Imposing an eight-month custodial sentence, which will be suspended for two years, Deputy High Bailiff Rachael Braidwood told the court: “This has not been an easy decision.”
Addressing the man, who will also be under a Suspended Sentence Supervision Order, she told him: “It’s clear your actions have had a profound impact on her.
“A child should be implicitly able to trust their parents – you betrayed that trust.”
The man was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £125 – he will also have to pay his daughter £750 in compensation.