Lesbian nursery boss cleared of cruelty charges
A nursery boss accused of cruelty to children in her care has been cleared of all charges.
Laura Pettitt, speaking outside court today, said she thought colleagues’ homophobia may have been to blame for the allegations.
The 27-year-old was accused of slapping and shaking babies at the Little Stars nursery in Bromley, Kent, where she had worked for seven years.
She was also accused of subjecting children to racist abuse and making one boy eat his own vomit, while it was also claimed she had violently shaken a premature baby.
Ms Pettitt denied all the accusations against her, which dated from January 2006 to November 2008.
When she was arrested in January 2009, she told police that “malicious” colleagues had discovered she was a lesbian and disliked the fact.
Today, a jury unanimously found her not guilty on ten counts of cruelty.
Outside court, Ms Pettitt said: “I just want to get on with my life – it’s been on hold for two years.
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“The whole thing was ridiculous. It was concocted by these two girls. I don’t know if it was because of my sexuality.”
Two young nursery assistants gave evidence in court to claim that they had seen Ms Pettitt treating babies roughly.
They said they had been too intimidated by her to report their claims.
Simon Taylor, defending, told the jury that Ms Pettitt’s colleagues had spread rumours which took on “epic proportions”.
According to the Daily Mail, he said that they had put a ‘sinister interpretation’ on everyday events and that she was “confident and forthright” handling babies.
Mr Taylor said: “She is not a monster. She is just the victim of a whispering campaign of lies and exaggeration.”