Eight months’ jail for nursery worker who left child with burst blood vessels in his eyes

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Caroline Bell.

A nursery worker has been jailed after dangling a child upside down until blood vessels around his eyes burst.

Caroline Bell also lifted up a child by his ankles, carried him across the room then “dumped” him on his head.

Shocked co-workers told a trial that Bell then “joked” about the incidents – and “talked about it as if she was talking about what she had had for tea”.

Bell had denied the charges but was found guilty of carrying out the two assaults at the Busy Bee nursery in Cupar – now known as Little Beehives.

The nursery’s owners said they “fully supported” the police throughout the prosecution and that Bell had been sacked when the allegations came to light.

Bell wept in the dock as a sheriff told her: “These are dreadful crimes – there is no alternative to custody.”

Bell, 44, of Lorraine Drive, Cupar, denied two charges of assault and one of ill-treating children at the nursery.

After a summary trial at Dundee Sheriff Court she was found guilty of the two assault charges, committed between November 1 2013 and February 26 2014.

The Crown said they were no longer seeking a conviction on the ill-treatment charge at the beginning of the trial.

Defence solicitor Kevin Hampton said: “She is in employment and will lose her job if she goes to custody.

“There is no real risk of her reoffending.

“She has been through a Scottish Social Services Council tribunal and knows she will never work in this field again.”

Sheriff Simon Collins QC jailed Bell for eight months, and made an order barring her from engaging in work with children in the future.

She said: “These are dreadful offences, not just because of the harm but because of the abuse of your position of trust.

“You continue to deny one of the charges and minimise the other.

“There was a compelling case against you involving multiple witnesses.

“The nature of the circumstances are so serious that there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.”