A WOMAN who carried out sadistic attacks on a vulnerable man has been jailed for 18 months.

Thirty-year-old Clare Marie Trotter repeatedly punched the epileptic cerebral palsy sufferer in one attack, and, the following day “branded” him nine times on an arm using a lighter.

Durham Crown Court heard that the “naive” victim, who is in his early 20s, but is said to come across as having a much younger persona, suffered a number of bruises and swellings round the face plus several burn marks on the arm.

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The court heard he had been a regular visitor to Trotter’s home, in Roseberry Terrace, Consett, with his girlfriend, who was friendly with the defendant.

Peter Makepeace, prosecuting, said Trotter began her attacks over a weekend in February, after the victim accidentally damaged the arm of a sofa.

She took his bank card as a punishment to ensure she was compensated for the damage.

Trotter told the victim’s girlfriend to leave the room while she punished him, in the first attack, and the next day used her lighter to burn him, after he made “a poor effort” to brand himself, at her instruction.

Mr Makepeace said Trotter ordered him to use a Deep Heat spray on the burns, to add to his pain.

Due to his injuries he left the house and the following day informed his mother, who reported it to police.

Trotter was arrested and made initial denials, but she subsequently confessed to the first assault, and, on the day of her scheduled trial, admitted carrying out the second attack, pleading ‘guilty’ to two charges of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Andrew Finlay, mitigating, said psychiatric reports indicated Trotter suffers mild mental health difficulties herself, and is considered as having “borderline psychotic symptoms”.

But, at the time of the attacks, she had withdrawn from treatment for her problems.

Mr Finlay added that she also has anger issues and her emotional instability contributed to the offence.

Jailing her, Judge Brian Forster said an aggravating feature of the case was the gratuitous degradation of the victim.

He issued a restraining order forbidding Trotter from attempting to make future contact with the victim or his mother.