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Nursery worker found not guilty

PUBLISHED: 13:01 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:05 12 August 2010

A NURSERY worker has been cleared of shaking, dropping and force feeding children in her care. Laura Pettitt, 27, of Thayers Park Road, Beckenham, was found not guilty at Croydon Crown Court on March 31. Ms Pettitt, who wept in the dock when the verdict

A NURSERY worker has been cleared of shaking, dropping and force feeding children in her care.

Laura Pettitt, 27, of Thayers Park Road, Beckenham, was found not guilty at Croydon Crown Court on March 31.

Ms Pettitt, who wept in the dock when the verdict was read out, worked at the Little Stars Nursery in Martins Road, Shortlands, and denied the 10 counts of child cruelty between January 2006 and November 2008.

Among the counts were accusations that she roughly shook a baby born prematurely, and that she refused to change dirty nappies. She was also alleged to have out blankets over babies faces if they would not go to sleep.

Speaking outside court, Pettitt said: "Justice has been served. I'm, relieved its all over.

"I just want to get on with my life - it's been on hold for two years. The whole thing was ridiculous."

A police investigation was launched in November 2008 after fellow nursery worker Nicola Fiddler reported concerns about Ms Pettitt to management.

But during the police interview in January last year, she said that colleagues had made up "malicious" allegations against her after finding out she was a lesbian.

Pettitt worked at Little Stars nursery for seven years and became manager of the baby room, where she was in charge of babies aged a few months up to toddlers, the court heard.

A number of nursery assistants gave evidence, alleging that she was cruel to the children she was looking after.

Simon Taylor, defending, said Pettitt had been the victim of rumours and "bitchiness" among her colleagues that took on "epic proportions."

He added: "She is not a monster. She is just the victim of a whispering campaign of lies and exaggeration.

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