Teenage girl known as 'Cinderella' because of mother's ill-treatment, court told

The Northern Echo: Sarah Baldwin Sarah Baldwin

A TEENAGE girl was known as 'Cinderella' by her neighbours because she was so badly treated by her mother, a court heard.

Sarah Baldwin, 34, was jailed for two years today (Monday) for regularly beating the youngster over a three-year period.

The torment came to an end when a passer-by saw Baldwin kicking the girl in the doorway of their home in North Yorkshire.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the man intervened and then called police - who uncovered a catalogue of appalling abuse.

It included beatings on at least 50 occasions when neighbours and teachers saw her with black eyes and covered in bruises.

Baldwin denied child cruelty during a trial last month and claimed neighbours had simply made scurrilous allegations against her.

The mother-of-three said they were jealous of her seemingly comfortable lifestyle and her high-flying job.

Baldwin was convicted of two charges after a trial, and it later emerged that her apparent business success was also criminal.

She stole almost £70,000 over just ten months when she employed as an accounts administrator for an engineering firm.

The court heard how she went on shopping sprees using the company's credit card, bought a car and paid nursery fees.

She also paid cheques into her own bank account on 18 occasions when the money was meant to be used to pay bills.

Judge Howard Crowson jailed bespectacled Baldwin for a further 20 months after she pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud.

The dishonesty had almost ruined the company and its boss said she told so many lies she does not know what the truth is.

The judge described the cruelty as "repeated acts of violence" and told Baldwin that she "dominated" her daughter.

He said others knew her as 'Cinderella' because of the mistreatment, which the girl had become to accept as normal.

"The jury and I saw her as a charming and bright young woman, and she continues to express a love for you, despite your behaviour.

"She clearly has a forgiving nature. I'm not at all convinced that you earned it, but she may continue to give it.

"You sought to portray her as a liar during your trial, and you pretended your neighbours gave evidence against you because they were jealous of your success.

"Your apparent success, if there was any, was founded on your dishonesty, rather than hard work, as you pretended."

Ian West, mitigating, said Baldwin, of Hambleton Place, Thirsk, was pregnant and faced having her fourth child behind bars.

He said at the time of the frauds, she was looking after her own children as well as her sister's two, and was under pressure.

"Her life really lies in ruins," said Mr West. "Of course she is the author of her own misfortune, and a prison sentence will undoubtedly hit her hard."

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