Page last updated at 21:37 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Mother punched daughter in face

A mother who punched her seven-year-old daughter in the face and arm, causing extensive bruising, told police she could chastise her if she wanted.

Exeter Crown Court heard the 31-year-old, from Torquay, Devon, who cannot be named, had been drinking alcohol when she attacked the child.

Police and social services were alerted by a concerned relative.

The woman, who admitted child cruelty, was given a supervision order and a night curfew to help her stop drinking.

The court was told when a teacher asked the girl what had happened to her, she lied and said she had fallen over a bin - a story her mother had concocted and told her to repeat.

'Stressed out'

The victim told police her mother had been drinking and only stopped the late-night attack when her 20-month-old baby sister started crying.

The mother had made the girls stay up to watch television before she started punching her older daughter.

The woman claimed she was "stressed out" because she was being harassed by her ex-partner, who is the girl's father.

She told police: "I don't batter my children. I will chastise her if I want to. I did not mean to hurt her."

Judge Philip Wassall sentenced the woman to an 18-month supervision order and a two-month night curfew.

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