A Halifax primary school worker who Sellotaped a pupil to a chair during a campaign of bullying that went on for months has been sentenced.
Rachael Regan, 43, of Cousin Lane, Illingworth, who was found guilty of child cruelty charges including Sellotaping a child to a chair, shutting her in a storeroom and tying her shoes to her legs with string, appeared at Bradford Crown Court, yesterday.
Regan, who was told she would never work with children again, was given a 12-month community service order including a requirement to carry out 40 hours unpaid community work.
Judge Neil Davey criticised the length of time it took for the case to come to court, ‘on all fronts’.
The cruelty campaign in which the child was “singled out and bullied” began in the first academic term of 2012 and ended in January 2013 when the abuse was reported to police.
Judge Davey said the period of uncertainty when Regan was on bail was a punishment in itself and the reason why he had not considered a custodial sentence.
“The time in which you waited for your trial was a substantial punishment in itself. Your life was on hold and each day you have had to live with the fear of going to prison,” Judge Davey told Regan.
He told her she would never work with children again.
“You have lost your job and your good name.
“Having humiliated [the child] you have been professionally and now publicly humiliated. You will never be able to work with children again.”
During the trial, the jury were told about a catalogue of incidents against the victim including hiding her doll, kicking her chair, tearing up her photograph, name calling, sticking Post-it notes to her thumbs, making a calendar using images of the girl alongside derogatory comments.
The jury heard prosecution evidence from witnesses including Regan’s colleagues and from the victim’s mother who described the day her daughter revealed that her classroom assistant had taped her to a chair.
“That day was so heart-breaking. She had tears streaming down her face and told me she never wanted to go back to school. She clung to me for dear life as she told me what had happened,” the youngster’s mum told the court.
Co-defendant and teacher Rachael Regan, 41, of Birks Hall Terrace, Halifax, was found not guilty at the end of the six day trial, last month.
Speaking after the trial DCI Darren Minton, crime manager for Calderdale Police, said: “This person was employed in a position of trust and she broke that trust with her actions.
“The conviction follows a lengthy and protracted investigation. Some people in the community have sought to question why such allegations were brought before the court. This conviction should send a loud and clear message that such behaviour from anyone is unacceptable, but particularly those employed in positions of significant trust.”