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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Toddler fight sentences reviewed
Abuse women
The women have been banned from working with children
The Attorney General is to review the sentencing of four women who filmed two toddlers fighting.

The Plymouth women, who are all related and include the children's mother, were given suspended sentences after admitting child cruelty last week.

The move follows complaints by MP Mike Penning who claimed the 12-month sentences were too lenient.

Lord Goldsmith has 23 days to decide if the case should be brought before the Court of Appeal for re-sentencing.

Paternal relatives of the children told BBC News they welcomed the move. They said they "felt the sentence was lenient" and "had hoped it would be a prison sentence".

Public anger

Zara Olver, 21, her 48-year-old mother Carole, and sisters Serenza Olver, 29, and Danielle Olver, 19, from the North Prospect area of the city, were convicted at Plymouth Crown Court last week.

A tape of them forcing two toddlers to hit each other was handed to social services by the children's father who was on leave from the army.

In the footage, a boy in a nappy was called a "wimp" for not hitting his sister back after she struck him and the four women were seen laughing as the children hit each other with brushes and magazines.

Sentencing them, Judge Francis Gilbert said they posed no risk to the public. He also banned them from working with children and ordered the women to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

The suspended sentences provoked public outrage, prompting Mr Penning to write to Lord Goldsmith.

He has asked the Attorney General to use his powers to appeal against what he claimed was the leniency of the sentence - saying if the case had involved a dog fight the women would have gone to prison.

The children, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are being looked after by their paternal grandparents.


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