Cruel woman who made girl eat her own vomit gets jail time quadrupled after judges find sentence was too lenient

17 November 2022, 22:23

The Denningtons have seen their sentences massively increased
The Denningtons have seen their sentences massively increased. Picture: Durham Police

By Will Taylor

A cruel woman who made a child eat her own vomit has had her jail term more than quadrupled after judges found her initial sentence was "wholly unreasonable".

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Lorna Dennington got just 12 months at Teesside Crown Court after she admitted three charges of child cruelty.

Her husband Christopher got the same for child cruelty and a count of fraud at sentencing in September.

But those punishments have been extraordinarily lengthened after the solicitor general referred them for being unduly lenient.

Judges at the Court of Appeal increased Lorna Dennington's sentence to four years and ten months and her husband's to six years.

She repeatedly hit three children in the couple's care. One of the children had to endure cruelty between 2006 and 2017.

And in one awful episode, described by Lord Justice William Davis, one of the children – aged 15 or 16 at the time – threw up her dinner.

Dennington has had her sentence more than quadrupled
Dennington has had her sentence more than quadrupled. Picture: Durham Police

"Lorna Dennington made her pick up the vomit from the floor and eat it," he said.

She had slapped them, punched one in the nose and hit another's head with a cupboard door during the campaign of cruelty.

The 47-year-old dragged a girl out of her bunk bed by her hair and would use a scrubbing pad on a girl's skin if she deemed her to have not properly cleaned herself in the bath.

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Meanwhile, Christopher Dennington almost entirely exhausted a £59,000 trust fund left to a boy after his father died.

There was only about £1,000 left after he used most of it up. The boy in question, now an adult, had hoped to put it towards a house.

In a statement, the victim said: "I am gutted that the money left to me after my father's death is gone ... They have taken away my dreams by stealing the money."

Christoper Dennington has his sentenced increased after judges found it was too lenient
Christoper Dennington has his sentenced increased after judges found it was too lenient. Picture: Durham Police

The judges found the couple had too much of their sentence reduced because they entered guilty pleas at the start of the trial, with Lord Justice Davis saying the sentencing judge made a "gross error".

Speaking about how some of the cruelty was carried out in front of other people, the judge said: "This fact led each victim to a sense of hopelessness - each saw no escape from the dreadful home life to which they were exposed."

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Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson MP said: "Christopher and Lorna Dennington both showed utter disregard for the welfare of the victims, inflicting lasting and considerable harm on them.

"I welcome these increased sentences which better reflect the damage caused to these innocent lives."

Lorna Dennington is serving time at HMP Low Newton near Durham while Christopher Dennington is at Holme House in Stockton on Tees.

Both have mental health issues and experienced trauma in the past.

Lorna Dennington has previously suggested she was overwhelmed by the responsibility of having to look after numerous children.