A troubled young mum who deliberately scorched her child with a hairdryer and left her injured from head to toe has lost the right to raise her following an anguished court hearing in Leyland.
The mother, who has a background of drugs and mental health problems, phoned for medical advice about her three-year-old in April last year, Judge Ross Duggan said.
The little girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was rushed to Royal Preston Hospital where “she was found to have suffered burns and extensive other soft tissue injuries”, the judge added.
Medical examination also revealed a “cheek burn” – which matched the mother’s hair dryer nozzle.
A series of bruises on the child’s body “were considered to be the result of forceful blows or squeezing”, the judge told the Family Court in Leyland.
Lancashire County Council social workers described the injuries as “unexplained” but said that the girl had been “injured from head to foot”.
The council applied for care and adoption orders.
And she ultimately reached what the judge described as the “difficult but correct conclusion” that she could not care for her daughter. That was despite social workers acknowledging the “warm and positive relationship” between mother and child.
Judge Duggan granted the council’s application, giving the green light for the girl’s adoption, but also resolved the fraught issue of what caused her burns and injuries.
The mother had claimed she was away from home when the burns were sustained. However, she had given inconsistent accounts on that issue.
He eliminated the woman’s partner as the perpetrator, noting that the mother was the owner and user of the hairdryer. “She is the more probable perpetrator of all injuries,” said Judge Duggan.
The child had suffered burns to her hands as well as her cheeks, the court heard, which were also inflicted by the hairdryer.
“The mother’s crisis was such that, on the balance of probabilities, these injuries too must have been deliberately inflicted by her,” the judge ruled.
Overall, he found that the girl suffered burns to her hands and cheek, as well as “numerous bruises and abrasions to the face and mouth, the trunk, the buttocks, and thigh and the feet”.
“These were injuries inflicted deliberately by her mother,” he concluded.
On top of this, the mum had delayed seeking medical attention for her daughter, “hoping to conceal what she had done”.