Judges at the UK’s Court of Appeal have increased the prison sentence for a woman who forced her child to eat her own vomit during a year-long cruelty campaign.
Lorna Dennington, 47, admitted to repeatedly hitting the three children she was caring for, beating them, hitting one child on the nose and another hitting a cupboard door on the head.
On one occasion, she would also pull a girl out of bed and go downstairs by her hair and use the kitchen mop to wipe her skin if she felt she hadn’t showered properly.
In his ruling, Lord Justice William Davis described an incident in which one of the children, who was about 15 or 16 years old at the time, vomited her lunch, adding: “Lorna Dennington told her to pick up the vomit from the floor and eat it.”
The court heard how her husband, 51-year-old Christopher Dennington, had spent around £1,000 from a £59,000 children’s trust fund left to the boy after his father died.
Lord Justice William Davis said the boy, who is now an adult, wanted to use the money to buy a house.
In a statement, he said: “I am devastated that the money I left after my father died is gone… They took away my dreams by stealing money.”
Lorna Dennington has been jailed for 12 months at Teesside Crown Court after pleading guilty to three counts of child cruelty.
Her husband, Christopher Dennington, 51, was also sentenced to 12 months in prison on child cruelty and fraud charges.
The cruelty continued for several years against three children in her care, and one child was abused between 2006 and 2017.
The two offenders attended the London hearing via video link on Thursday, with Lorna Dennington being held at HMP Low Newton and her husband remanded in custody at Holme House Prison.
Lorna Dennington told the court she felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for many children.
Lord Justice William Davis, sitting with Judge Murray and Judge Philip Katz KC, said the sentencing judge had given the couple too much of a reduction in their sentences for pleading guilty at the start of the trial.
“There were not enough grounds to deviate from the guidelines,” he said, adding that these were “totally unreasonable” sentences.
The judge noted that cruelty to children often took place in the presence of others.
“This fact left every victim feeling hopeless – each of them saw no way out of the terrible home life they were exposed to,” said Judge William Davis.