Woman recalls 'living hell' with foster mum

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM A woman today described to a jury her time living with an approved foster carer in Norfolk when she was a child as a “living hell.”

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM

A woman today described to a jury her time living with an approved foster carer in Norfolk when she was a child as a “living hell.”

Elizabeth Roe, 64, who cared for a number of vulnerable youngsters in the 1970s and 1980s, is alleged to have been “deliberately cruel” to the children, regularly beating them with anything that came to hand.

Norwich Crown Court heard the alleged catalogue of abuse included Roe keeping the children short of food, making them “virtual slaves” by performing household chores, and starving them of affection.

Roe, of Norwich, denies six counts of cruelty to six different girls under the age of 16.

All the alleged victims are now adults, and only recently came forward to make their complaints against the social services foster carer who was originally approved by the Norwich County Borough Council.

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Giving evidence the woman said that Roe used to hit and punch her using her fist or even on occasions hit her with a dog chain.

She said she was made to do household chores such as cooking and cleaning and had to make breakfast in bed for Roe.

She said if Roe's tea or toast was cold she would “have a go” at her.

“Breakfast would never be right.”

“It was a living hell with constant arguing, fighting, hitting and cleaning.”

She said Roe would then get her and other children to do cleaning tasks before going to school.

“When we got back from school we would get it in the neck because she said it was not done properly.”

She added: “It was like she lost the plot. She would sit there and wait and then come out and drag us out of bed because we had not cleaned the kitchen floor after tea.

She said that Roe was constantly sniping about things and would drag her upstairs by her hair.

“It was miserable, absolutely miserable.”

She said she was afraid to speak out as at the time as she was in fear of Roe.

Another woman told how they always had chores to do and were accused of stealing things they had not taken.

“She would put you down all the time so you would not have any self-esteem.”

She said Roe would regularly slap and push them and remembers an incident when she hurt her rib after being pushed into a door handle.

“She showed no remorse. We were not treated as a child we were treated as slaves.”

The trial continues on Monday.