‘Sadistic’ Carlisle stepdad forced children to beg for food

A stepfather who took “sadistic pleasure” in the cruelty he meted out to two young children has been jailed for nearly six years.

The horrific ordeal endured by the brother and sister – both of them pupils at a primary school in Carlisle – came to light after they told their teachers that they were afraid to go home because of what their mother’s boyfriend might do to them, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The investigation that followed revealed how 37-year-old Gary Martin Davies subjected the terrified youngsters to a catalogue of cruel treatment. It included:

* Forcing them to beg for food.

* Compelling them to stare at a wall for hours at a time.

* Making them take freezing baths filled with ice cubes.

* Denying them food.

* And making them sleep without blankets on the bathroom floor.

The Cumbria Police detective who oversaw the investigation described the ordeal endured by the children as “harrowing” – and said that the tough  sentence handed down to Davies should serve as a warning to others who are tempted to mistreat children.

In court, prosecutor Tim Evans described how the children’s mother entered into a relationship with Davies and set up home with him in Carlisle.

“Matters came to light when the children reported to their teachers that they were frightened to go home because of what their stepfather might do to them,” said the barrister.

The teachers had already noticed various behaviour issues with the children – and in particular that they always seemed hungry, said Mr Evans.

The barrister outlined how over several months the children were subjected to various forms of cruelty.

“They were forced to the indignity of begging for their food,” said Me Evans.

“And it seems, from the reaction of the teachers, not given sufficient even when forced to beg.

“In the final week before police and social services became involved they were deprived of food almost in its entirety.”

Davies at times “dragged” the girl to the bathroom. He would swear at the children and he tried to humiliate the boy by ridiculing him. Davies also forced the children at times to “sleep in a cupboard,” said Mr Evans.

When making them have cold baths, he would add ice cubes and pour the water over their heads.

The court heard that Davies has a long history of violence, with several convictions for assault, the most recent ones being the most serious.

Mr Evans, who said Davies told the children’s mother she was not ‘punishing them properly, added: “These children were significantly more damaged after this defendant was involved than they were before.”

Jeff Smith, for Davies, who admitted two offences of child cruelty, said that not all the psychological harm suffered by the children could be blamed on Davies.

But the lawyer added: “He concedes that his behaviour was entirely inappropriate.

“He concedes that his life has not been filled with virtue. He knows he must be punished.”Jailing the defendant for five years and eleven months, Judge Nicholas Barker told Davies: “The grotesque ill-treatment which you caused these children I categorise as sadistic.

“You would cause them to stand against a wall for up to two hours, a couple of days a week.

“You caused them to sleep on the bathroom floor and if their mother wanted to cover them with a towel you visited retribution on her.

“You made them have cold baths and added ice cubes to it.” The judge went on: “It’s a catalogue of sadistic behaviour.

“You as an adult were well aware of the fear you were importing into those children. “You will be well aware of how they reacted to you – no doubt with utter terror. Given that you did not temper your behaviour, you must have obtained sadistic pleasure from it.” “Both children suffered significant mental health problems.”

The judge said his behaviour had not been a “momentary loss of control.” They were were premeditated acts carried out for the purpose of obtaining sadistic satisfaction.

The judge added: “It’s hard to see that you have offered genuine remorse, given that you required the children to be court-summonsed so their veracity could tested. You are a significant risk of serious harm to members of the public.”

Judge Barker imposed an extended licence period, which means the defendant will be at risk of recall to prison for an extra two years after the expiry of his determinate sentence, making a total sentence of seven years and eleven months.