A man and woman from Ilkeston who put a door over a toddler’s cot to stop them getting out were asked by a judge ‘how would you feel if I put you in a skip and left you there for the night?’
The pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday where Judge Stuart Rafferty QC handed them each a three-month jail term, suspended for 12 months.
They had each previously pleaded guilty to a child cruelty charge.
The court heard concerns had been raised by a social worker in 2014.
Prosecuting, Tina Dempster said: “There were two cots in there (the bedroom), one of which the three-year-old had been sleeping in. It had a door balanced over the top of it.
“She (the female defendant) said ‘I know about that’ and said it had been put there to stop the child from getting out. Between 5.30pm and 5.45pm was bedtime, the child was imprisoned for the night.
“The cot was such a height that there was limited room to stand up. If the child had been able to get out of bed they wouldn’t have been able to get out of the room because the door handles had been turned upside down.”
The male defendant told authorities that they put the door over the cot because it was pitch black in the bedroom and he didn’t want the child to stumble or get to the other cot. The woman said she didn’t like it but had gone along with it to stop the child from getting up in the morning and playing.
Judge Rafferty told them: “Suppose I ordered you to be taken from this court and placed you in a skip and the lid was left on and you were in it even for a night. How do you think you would feel?
“The child was three and was obviously an active child. An active child needs to be able to move about and be happy, and doing what you did was cruel and wrong.
“It doesn’t matter if the child was able to get on their hands and knees it was for you to put them back if they get up, if it was dark it was for you to get a night light.”
Judge Rafferty also handed them a supervision order, telling them ‘you need help as well, I’m quite sure.’
He warned the couple if they appeared in court again on similar charges there would be ‘no walking away’.
It is understood the child no longer lives with the couple.