Chef put plastic bag in two-year-old’s mouth, court told

Norwich Magistrates' Court.

Norwich Magistrates' Court.

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A former army chef put a plastic bag into a two-year-old’s mouth to keep the child quiet, a court heard.

Gareth Leddington, 34, from Cromer Road, Sheringham, admitted assault when he appeared before Norwich magistrates yesterday.

The court heard that Leddington, who has four children of his own, had a “moment of madness”.

Judith Piggin, prosecuting, said: “The mother and her two children were staying with the defendant, his wife and children over the Christmas period.

“The mother and her children were in the living room at his address on December 28. The two-year-old was screaming, while his mother was trying to feed her three-week-old baby.

“The defendant got up, screwed up a plastic bag and put it into the child’s mouth. The child spat it out and the defendant tried to put the bag into the child’s mouth again, but the bag did not go in.

“Leddington then picked up the child and took it into the kitchen, where he was challenged by the child’s mother, who reported it to the police.

“In interview the defendant at first did not accept the offence, and said he had just been wiping the child’s mouth, but then admitted placing the bag in the child’s mouth.”

Rebecca Wastall, for Leddington, said he deeply regretted his actions.

She said: “He described it as a moment of madness. He had allowed the woman and her children to stay with them over Christmas, as they had nowhere else to go.

“The children were not getting along. There was a lot of jealousy among them.

“This child had got extremely upset on many occasions prior to this incident.

“He put the bag over the child’s mouth, hoping it would be quiet, then took the child into the kitchen.”

The case against Leddington, who is a chef and served 12 years in the army in that role, was adjourned for pre-sentence reports to February 10, with all options available to the magistrates in sentencing, including immediate custody.

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