'Cruel' Hull mum who left baby in agony wins jail term appeal
A MOTHER who left her baby screaming in agony for five hours after the infant's face was shoved into a scalding hot bath has had her jail sentence reduced.
Kelly Horner, 23, had passed out on a bed after taking a cocktail of drink and drugs when her boyfriend John Ward pushed her four-month-old daughter's face into a hot bath, leaving the child badly burned.
Horner was jailed for 21 months for child neglect, with the judge in the case declaring her "comprehensively unfit" to be a mother.
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told Horner at the time: "The baby must have experienced incalculable terror, she must have been in agony and she must have struggled.
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"That baby must have screamed the house down in the aftermath of the violence visited upon her. You did nothing of any significance for five hours."
He ruled Horner must never be allowed to be in charge of a child again.
But yesterday, as first revealed on the Mail's website, Sir John Thomas, Mrs Justice Swift And Mr Justice Macduff, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, cut her sentence to 12 months.
Horner will serve half of that term before qualifying for automatic release.
The court heard she was told by Ward he had tripped and spilt a cup of tea on the baby's face.
When doctors were able to examine the child, they found the injuries were consistent with her face having been dipped into scalding liquid, rather than a splashing accident.
Mrs Justice Swift said: "There were terrible scalding injuries over most of the baby's face.
"It should have been clear that she needed immediate hospital treatment.
"She was cruel to allow her to suffer for so long. Six months later, she still appeared to have little appreciation or interest in the effect of her actions on the baby."
But, allowing the appeal, the judge said: "However, the sentence imposed would have been appropriate for a prolonged period of neglect, which was not present here.
"We quash the sentence of 21 months and substitute for it one of 12 months' imprisonment, and to that extent this appeal is allowed."
Hull Crown Court had heard Ward, 19, had run a hot bath for the baby after taking drugs and alcohol at Horner's three-bedroom house in Bransholme in April.
He then placed the baby's head in the burning hot water, scalding her.
Ward woke Horner to tell her he had hurt the baby but they did not take the little girl to hospital for five hours.
As soon as hospital staff saw the extent of the baby's injuries, she was transferred to a specialist burns unit. Doctors also discovered bite marks on the baby's arms and fractures to her legs, prompting concerned hospital staff to call police and social services.
Horner, who now lives in Beverley, said she did not tell police because she did not want to get Ward, who has learning difficulties, into trouble.
Ward, of Willerby, has been jailed for eight and a half years for grievous bodily harm with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and child cruelty.