FOR nearly two years, the parents of children left with Clare Cartwright have been living a nightmare.
They were stunned when the childminder was arrested and could not believe the shocking cruelty she was accused of.
Some said they had concerns about her – but they could never have imagined the horror of what was going on when they left their sons and daughters in her “care”.
One mum said: “When the police told me I didn’t believe it. Up until they prosecuted her, it was a story I didn’t really believe had happened.
“It’s the kind of thing you read about but it doesn’t happen in Halifax.
“It doesn’t happen to you, it doesn’t happen to people you know.
“The most awful thing is that as I sat there going through everything with the police, the more I was thinking about it, the more things started to fall into place.”
Her little girl would come home from being with the childminder quiet and withdrawn.
“At the time I thought there were so many other children there she was not used to it and was tired from a busy day,” said the mum.
Her daughter is now frightened of being left on her own.
Another mum said her son has had trouble eating and sleeping since being with the childminder.
“He tries to force food into our mouths,” she said.
She had taken her little boy out of Cartwright’s care shortly before she was arrested.
“He was distressed every time he came home and would get upset every time we walked past the nursery,” she said.
She says now when he doesn’t eat, she cannot bring herself to try too much to persuade him because of what Cartwright did.Both say their children are slowly showing signs of improvement and have strong hopes that both were too young for any long-term damage
One of the mums said Cartwright’s guilty plea was not a relief, as it meant she would get some credit for admitting what she has done.
But at least now the court case is over, she can start to deal with what has happened.
Although emergency child-care places were found when Cartiwright was arrested, understandably neither mum said they were able to entrust another childminder with their children straight away.
After much searching, they have found new childminders but both say they can only use them because they come reccommended from several people they know well.
One said she will find it difficult to ever trust anyone with her daughter again, and is worried about her starting school or visiting friends.
Neither can think of any punishment enough to punish Cartwright .
One said: “She’s never going to be able to work with children again. If nothing else, at least she can’t do the same to other kids.”