Tuesday 26 September 2017

Fortune teller told mother to make children work as slaves

A MOTHER made slaves of her two children and forced them to work for gypsies rather than go to school after a fortune teller told her it was right thing to do.

Within weeks of the meeting, Linda Clappison started locking her son and daughter, then aged 10 and six, in their rooms and assaulting them.

She fed them only sandwiches and took the light bulbs, toys and all mattresses and bedding from their rooms, leaving them needing hospital treatment for frostbite. Clappison, 46, of Keyingham Marsh, East Yorkshire, was found guilty of two child cruelty charges at Hull Crown Court last month.

She was jailed for 18 months concurrently or each charge. Judge Michael Mettyear, the Recorder of Hull, described the case as “tragic’’. He also praised the children, who gave evidence against their mother.

The trial heard that the mother of four forced her two youngest children to work for gypsies as slaves after falling under the spell of a fortune teller.

Her son, Andrew Clappison, now aged 18, told the trial: '’We were treated like dogs.’’

After her daughter, now aged 13, told the court her mother had shaved her hair at least five times as punishment, Clappison said the girl wanted to look like Britney Spears.

Judge Mettyear told her: “This is, in many ways, a tragic case for all those concerned. Nobody sitting through the trial, as I did, could fail to be moved and impressed by your four children.

“They were the sort of children that any parent thinking clearly and sensibly would admire.

“They were measured, sensible and pleasant. That’s a credit to them, rather than to you, that they have somehow survived what you have put them through and turned out well.’’

The judge said he could not help but have sympathy for Clappison because he believed something had happened in her life to make her think in a “strange and illogical way’’.

He said he had no way of knowing if the change was due to the meeting with the fortune teller but added: “I am satisfied that something changed and changed with disastrous consequences.’’

The court heard that Clappison had still not admitted the offences, instead insisting that her children were “liars’’ and that she would never consider a reconciliation.

He said: “The children, with great fairness, said that there was a long period when you were a perfectly good mother, caring and, if anything, overprotective.

“And that then something went very, very badly wrong in your life and your mind and caused you to change and treat them in the way that you did.’’

He added: “It is sad that seeing your children in court giving evidence did not in any way melt your heart.’’

Jailing Clappison, Judge Mettyear said: “You blighted the lives of those children and only custody can be justified.’’

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