A woman who fed a child her own vomit during a year-long campaign of cruelty has had her prison sentence increased by judges at the UK Court of Appeal.
Lorna Dennington, 47, admitted to repeatedly hitting three children in her care, slapping them, hitting one child on the nose and hitting another over the head with a closet door.
She also dragged a girl out of bed and up the stairs by her hair on one occasion and used a kitchen scouring pad on her skin if she thought she hadn’t bathed properly.
In his ruling, Lord Justice William Davis described an incident in which one of the children, thought to be around 15 or 16 at the time, had thrown away his dinner, adding: ‘Lorna Dennington made him pick up the vomit from the ground and eat it.
The court heard how her husband, Christopher Dennington, 51, spent around £1,000 of a child’s £59,000 that was 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 disgusted that the money I have left after my father died is gone… They took away my dreams by stealing the money.”
Lorna Dennington has been jailed for 12 months at Teesside Crown Court after admitting three charges of child cruelty.
Her husband Christopher Dennington, 51, was also jailed for 12 months for the child cruelty offenses and one count of fraud.
The cruelty lasted several years against three children in their care, with one child suffering cruel treatment between 2006 and 2017.
Both offenders appeared in court in London on Thursday via video link, with Lorna Dennington being held at HMP Low Newton and her husband in police custody at Holme House prison.
Lorna Dennington told the court she was overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for multiple children.
Lord Justice William Davis, sitting with Judge Murray and Judge Philip Katz KC, found that the sentencing judge gave the couple too big a reduction in their sentences for the guilty pleas at the start of their court case.
“There was no valid reason to deviate from the guideline,” he said, adding that they were “completely unreasonable” penalties.
The judge noted that the cruelty inflicted on children often took place in front of others.
“This fact drove each victim to a sense of despair – each saw no escape from the terrible family life to which they were exposed,” said Lord Justice William Davis.
He concluded that the sentencing judge had fallen into a “gross error” with the sentences, striking down the original terms as unduly lenient.