Harold Hill childminder jailed for seven years for assaulting babies in her care

Anouska Coleman was jailed for seven years at Basildon Crown Court on Friday. Photo: Met Police

Anouska Coleman was jailed for seven years at Basildon Crown Court on Friday. Photo: Met Police - Credit: Archant

A registered childminder from Harold Hill has been jailed after assaulting two baby girls in her care – leaving one with a broken leg and the other with bleeding on the brain.

On 6 October 6, Anouska Coleman, 37, of Lancing Road, Harold Hill, was found guilty of two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent, following a trial at Basildon Crown Court.

On Friday (December 15), she was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for grievous bodily harm on a nine-month-old girl, and nine years’ imprisonment for grievous bodily harm on a seven-month-old girl, to run consecutively.

At 3.55pm on March 16 2015, Coleman called 999, stating that the seven-month-old girl she was looking after had become unresponsive. An ambulance arrived a short time later and the baby was subsequently transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The baby was diagnosed with suffering a bleed on the brain.

Medical examinations revealed the injury was most probably as a result of a trauma, which would have occurred shortly before the ambulance was called. The exact cause of the baby’s injuries remains uncertain, but is likely to have involved an impact or impact with shaking.

Coleman was subsequently charged with grievous bodily harm.

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Detectives from the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT) later reviewed a previous case they had investigated where a nine-month-old baby girl suffered a leg fracture in October 2014 whilst in Coleman’s care.

The investigation carried out at the time concluded that there was insufficient evidence to pursue a prosecution.

The review of this second case - following the allegations of the first case - resulted in Coleman being charged with a second count of grievous bodily harm in relation to the incident in October 2014.

Detective Chief Inspector Keith Paterson, of the Met’s Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command, said: “The parents of these two baby girls put their trust in Coleman to look after them and she abused that trust in the most awful way.

“The lives of the girls and their families have been hugely impacted and the girls will carry the scars of the injuries they have sustained at Coleman’s hands through the rest of their lives.

“We may never really know how or why Coleman injured these defenceless babies, but ultimately she caused their injuries and must now face the consequences of her actions.

“I only hope that today’s sentence can give a small measure of comfort to the families knowing that Coleman has been brought to justice for her terrible actions.”

The Met has co-operated fully with the Serious Case Review process and its findings will be published by Havering Safeguarding Children Board later today (December 18).