A 39-year-old “sadist” who waterboarded a six-year-old girl and forced another child to watch, was jailed for 12 years on two counts of child cruelty at Cambridge Crown Court.
Cambridge News reports:
Judge Stuart Bridge sentenced 39-year-old Garth Gatland, of Austin Drive, Cambridge, for his “purposeful, sadistic and systematic abuse” of the girl over a two-year period.
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The defendant also subjected a boy to prolonged abuse and was found guilty of two counts of child cruelty by a jury on May 25.
At today’s sentencing hearing, the court heard of the shocking cruelty Gatland subjected his victims to.
Judge Bridge called Gatland “sadistic” and “cruel”, and said he had a “hatred” of children.
He described how Gatland would hit the girl on the soles of her feet with a wooden spoon, so as not to hurt his own hands, and waterboarded her on at least one occasion – putting a wet rag over her nose and mouth and pouring water on it to make her choke.
The defendant also made her run on a treadmill for four-and-a-half hours, which Judge Bridge said was “as a means of being cruel because that was what you enjoyed doing”.
Among countless other instances of severe abuse, Gatland also poured cold water over his victim while she was sleeping on more than one occasion, and once made her wear a motorcycle helmet, put a wooden spoon in her mouth, and then hit the spoon with a hammer so as to hurt her.
Much of the abuse was carried out while Gatland was under the influence of Class A drug cocaine, which was said to have “aggravated” his violent and controlling behaviour and made him “terrifying” to those around him.
In a victim impact statement, Gatland’s second victim, a boy, described his experiences with him as “hell”, being made to watch the defendant’s calculated physical emotional abuse on the girl.
While the judge said Gatland’s abuse of the boy was not as serious as what the little girl was subjected to, he described it as a serious assault over a long period of time.
The abuse of the boy consisted of ill-treatment, recruiting him to deliver Class A drugs, encouraging him to assault another man with a golf club and hammer, as well as repeated physical assault.
Judge Bridge said Gatland was “a calculating, controlling and violent individual who represents a real danger to the public”.
He also said he had expressed no remorse for the prolonged and cruel abuse he had carried out.
He sentenced him to eight years in prison for abusing the girl, and four years for abusing the boy.
These sentences will run consecutively, meaning Gatland’s sentence adds up to 12 years in total, of which he will be required to serve at least two-thirds.
Judge Bridge gave the defendant an extended sentence, which means that after he is released from prison he will be on licence and sent back into custody immediately for any reoffending. The total extended period is of five years.
A restraining order was granted to prevent Gatland making any form of contact with his victims.
The duration of this order is indefinite, to “put a further layer of protection over the children,” Judge Bridge said.
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