Mother who treated her kids as ‘dogs’ jailed for six year cruelty campaign
A WOMAN who "blighted" the lives of her "measured, sensible and pleasant" children by subjecting them to a six-year campaign of cruelty was jailed for 18 months today.
Linda Clappison, 46, of Keyingham Grange Cottages, Keyingham Marsh, East Yorkshire, was found guilty of two counts of child cruelty at a trial at Hull Crown Court last month.
Sentencing Clappison today, Judge Michael Mettyear, the Recorder of Hull, described the case as "tragic" and praised the "super" children, who gave evidence against their mother at the trial.
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.
Within weeks of the meeting, 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 lightbulbs, toys and all mattresses and bedding from their rooms, leaving them needing hospital treatment for frostbite.
After her daughter, now aged 13, told the court her mother shaved her hair at least five times as punishment, Clappison said the girl wanted to look like Britney Spears.
Her son, Andrew Clappison, now 18, told the trial: "We were treated like dogs."
Sentencing Clappison today, 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."
Judge Mettyear said the progress made by Clappison's daughter since the events was "remarkable".
He added: "The ways in which they've suffered and battled through it make this a bad case."
But Judge Mettyear 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 in Clappison was due to the meeting with the fortune teller but added: "I am satisfied that something changed and changed with disastrous consequences."
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, over-protective.
"And that then something went very, very badly wrong in your life and your mind, caused you to change and treat them in the way that you did."
The court heard that Clappison had still not admitted the offences, instead insisting that her children are "liars" and that she will never consider a reconciliation.
Judge Mettyear said: "In my view, that's your loss, not theirs, because they are super children.
He added: "It is sad that seeing your children in court giving evidence did not in any way melt your heart."
Jailing Clappison to concurrent sentences of 18 months for each charge, Judge Mettyear said: "You blighted the lives of those children and only custody can be justified."
Clappison, wearing a cream sweater, with a grey and pink diamond pattern, and a blue necklace, stood with her hands behind her back throughout the sentencing and showed no emotion as she was jailed.