Woman who caged tot claims she can’t carry out punishment because of bad back

A woman who locked a toddler in a cage has claimed that undergoing a C-section to deliver her newborn baby has left her physically unable to carry out her punishment.

34-year-old Claire Boyle was ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work for the offence, which saw her caging and starving a four-year-old.

As part of a Community Payback Order, she was also ordered to be supervised by social workers for 18 months, reports The Daily Record.

During a review hearing at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, Boyle claimed she couldn't climb out of the van which transports offenders to their unpaid work because she had a "bad nerve" in her back.

She attended court without a lawyer yesterday, as her former solicitor no longer represents her.

Sheriff Michael Higgins told Boyle to return to court on another date with a new lawyer, saying he was "concerned" by her progress, and adding: "You'll appreciate this is a very serious matter.

"The sentence was a direct alternative to a custodial sentence and I explained that to you clearly at the time."

Boyle said: "I've actually done quite a few hours. I've got a bad nerve in my back.

"I've just had a cesarean, not even a year ago. It wasn't that I didn't want to do the work, it was climbing up into the van that was hurting my back."

As he postponed Boyle's review hearing, Sheriff Higgins said: "There are concerning matters within the report, specifically in regards your engagement with social workers, and your behaviour with social workers in that engagement."

Boyle and her boyfriend, Timothy Johnstone, 57, both denied child neglect but were eventually found guilty after a trial.

The neglect first came to light after the older boy, who was covered in bruises, escaped out of a window from their flat in Newmilns, East Ayrshire in Scotland.

He was found wandering the streets in the rain in October 2018.

There were so many bruises on his skin that doctors who looked after him in hospital thought he had blood cancer or a blood clotting disorder.

Subsequently, officers attended the flat and found a two-year-old boy being kept in a homemade cage.

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Sheriff Higgins praised Johnstone for his "positive" CPO progress, saying he was engaging well with his unpaid work and supervision.

Boyle was allowed to look after the kids despite two previous convictions for child neglect.

In 2014 she was found comatose on a couch, through drink or drugs, with a distressed baby at her feet.

In 2015 she was caught trying to sell a baby for £1million on a Scots high street – and shaking the little boy, shouting at him and abandoning him in a “damp and draughty” close.

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