Leeds & West Yorkshire

Halifax teaching assistant guilty of cruelty towards girl, 7

Deborah McDonald and Rachael Regan
Image caption Teacher Deborah McDonald, left, was cleared of bullying while Rachael Regan, right, was found guilty

A teaching assistant has been found guilty of bullying a seven-year-old girl who was taped to a chair at school in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

Rachael Regan, 43, of Cousin Lane, Illingworth, denied a charge of cruelty, but was found guilty after a trial at Bradford Crown Court.

Teacher Deborah McDonald, of Birks Hall Terrace, Halifax, was found not guilty.

Judge Neil Davey QC told Regan she would not go to prison when she was sentenced on 8 January.

Jurors heard how the pupil was also shut in a storeroom, during a five-month bullying campaign.

The catalogue of incidents against the youngster, who is now nine, also included putting sticky notes on her thumbs and tying her shoes on with string.

'Unacceptable' behaviour

In her evidence, Regan told the court it had been a "bit of fun" and the girl had not seemed upset by her actions.

A jury of four men and eight women took less than four hours to find her guilty.

Judge Davey said delays in bringing the case to court had convinced him custody was not appropriate.

West Yorkshire Police said the conviction should send a "loud and clear message" that such behaviour was "unacceptable".

Det Ch Insp Darren Minton said: "This person was employed in a position of trust and she broke that trust with her actions. This investigation and successful conviction demonstrates how seriously we take such allegations."

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