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Garth Gatland: 'Sadist' jailed for 'systematic' child abuse

image copyrightCambridgeshire Police
image captionGarth Gatland must serve two thirds of his 12-year sentence

A "sadistic" man who tortured a girl and abused a boy has been jailed for 12 years.

Garth Gatland, 39, made the girl, now six years old, run on a treadmill in what the judge called a "bizarre attempt to tire her out".

Gatland, of Austin Drive, Cambridge, was convicted at Cambridge Crown Court of two counts of child cruelty.

Judge Stuart Bridge said Gatland had subjected the children to "purposeful, sadistic and systematic abuse".

Gatland had denied two counts of child cruelty but was found guilty at a trial in May.

'Unquantifiable assaults'

The abuse of the girl included hitting her on the bottom of the foot with a wooden spoon.

He also tipped the girl out of her bed on regular occasions, according to police, and the judge said she was subjected to an "unquantifiable number of assaults".

The judge said Gatland's use of cocaine was a contributing factor in the cruelty.

A victim impact statement read to the court said the girl now "displayed anxieties which are extreme".

Meanwhile, the boy was "assaulted on a number of occasions" and was encouraged to assault another man with a golf club.

The judge commended the children, saying they have been "exceptionally brave" during the course of the trial.

Gatland must serve a minimum eight years of his 12-year prison sentence, and he was also given an extended license period of five years.

His co-defendant Marie Maltby, 32, also of Austin Drive was found not guilty of two counts of child cruelty at the trial in May.

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