Man found guilty of extreme child cruelty

Soham man jailed for historic sexual offences

Soham man jailed for historic sexual offences - Credit: Archant

A man has been found guilty of subjecting two children to prolonged, horrific abuse and neglect including water boarding a girl from the age of four.

Garth Gatland, 39, was found guilty of two counts of child cruelty at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday (May 25).

Marie Maltby, 32, who lived with him at Austin Drive in Cambridge was acquitted on both counts.

The court heard how Gatland abused a girl aged six and a boy aged 15 over a period of two years between 2014 and 2016.

The abuse of the girl included hitting her repeatedly with implements including a wooden spoon.

He force her to stand naked in the window and make her run for up to four-and-a-half hours, barefoot on a treadmill, so she would sleep at bed time.

The girl was also subjected to “water boarding”, made to stand in stress positions and tipped out of her bed while she was sleeping on regular occasions.

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A forensic scientist found that the girl had either ingested cocaine or been exposed to it as traces were found in samples of her hair.

She was also discovered to have significant bruises and burns to her back, legs, feet and neck.

The boy was the victim of regular assaults and made to dispose of and hide drugs for Gatland.

Detective Constable Chris Down said: “Gatland subjected his victims to a catalogue of sadistic abuse. I hope his conviction will allow the victims to move on with their lives.

“I would encourage anyone who suspects offences have been, or are being committed against children to report their concerns to police, children’s social services or the NSPCC.

“No matter who we are, we all have a responsibility to report child abuse.”

The abuse was reported to police by an acquaintance of Gatland in October last year and the couple were arrested.

Gatland will be sentenced at a later date.

• An NSPCC spokesman said: “Gatland subjected two vulnerable children to utterly horrendous abuse over a prolonged period. His sickening actions will leave a long lasting impact on the lives of his victims who will need years of support to help them recover.

“Neglect and abuse ruins childhood and wreaks havoc on a child’s brain development, emotional well-being, ability to form relationships and mental health.

“Children’s wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility and we want anyone who believes a child is suffering to contact our helpline for advice.”

Childline is available 24/7 on 0800 1111 for children who need someone to talk to. Adults worried about a child can report abuse by calling the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.