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Nursery worker accused of force feeding baby vomit

PUBLISHED: 14:36 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 10:36 12 August 2010

A NURSERY worker force-fed a baby its own vomit and put blankets over the faces of those who couldn t sleep, a court heard.

A NURSERY worker force-fed a baby its own vomit and put blankets over the faces of those who couldn't sleep, a court heard.

Laura Pettitt, 27, of Thayers Farm Road, Beckenham, appeared at Croydon Crown Court on Monday.

Ms Pettitt, who worked at Little Stars Nursery in Martins Road, Shortlands, denies 10 counts of child cruelty between January 2006 and November 2008.

Among the counts are accusations that she roughly shook a baby born prematurely and refused to change dirty nappies. It is also alleged that one youngster was left with a grazed nose after she threw him onto a sofa while in a temper.

Prosecuting, Tana Adkin said that police received a referral from social services on November 27 after information had been passed from the NSPCC about incidents at the nursery.

Miss Adkin said: "Laura Pettitt, when she lost her temper and the babies would not do her will, would treat them roughly in a manner that amounts to cruelty.

"She would force-feed them, causing them to vomit, shout at them, and throw soft toys at them from time to time and leave them in their soiled nappies refusing to clean them."

The court also heard that Ms Pettitt left another boy gasping for breath after she force fed him until he vomited and put a blanket over a boy's face to try and force him to go to sleep.

Ms Pettitt worked at the nursery for seven years, becoming manager of the baby room.

The allegations came to light after nursery assistant Nicola Fiddler complained that Pettitt used her foot to push a child's head so hard it began crying.

She then took the complaint to the NSPCC after which social services and the police were informed.

After her arrest in January 2009, Ms Pettitt said the allegations against her were malicious and the staff had resented her when it became known she was a lesbian.

Ms Fiddler, giving evidence, said she had been scared of Pettitt, which was why it had been a long time before she reported her.

The trial continues.

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