Tayside and Central Scotland

Drunk babysitter assaulted toddler and slashed partner

A drunken babysitter attacked a four-year-old before slashing her partner's face with a knife in front of a child.

Zoe Cawthorne, 26, and her partner James Turton, 29, were supposed to be looking after the two young children when she flew into a violent rage.

Police officers discovered the children were being watched in squalid conditions at the couple's Perth home.

The pair were both ordered to carry out 125 hours of unpaid work for neglecting the children.

Fiscal depute Lisa Marshall told the court that Cawthorne had gone out drinking for a period, leaving the children, aged four and eight, in Turton's sole care during the evening.

"She got quite drunk and became agitated," Miss Marshall said. "She noticed something had been broken on the living room door and vented her frustration on the children.

"She accused the four-year-old girl of breaking it. She grabbed her forcibly by the front of the neck, causing her to cry hysterically."

'Extremely dishevelled'

Cawthorne left the house briefly and went to a bar, before returning and turning her anger on Turton.

She punched him several times on the face and slashed him with a small kitchen knife, all in the presence of the eight-year-old boy.

Turton was taken to Perth Royal Infirmary and required four stitches.

Police found the house in an "extremely dishevelled" state, with clothing, toys and dirty dishes piled on the floor to the extent the carpet could not be seen, and razors lying with easy reach of the children in the bathroom.

Both accused admitted wilfully exposing two children to unnecessary suffering or injury to health while looking after them on 3 January this year.

Cawthorne also admitted two further charges of assaulting the four-year-old girl by grabbing her and attacking Turton by punching him and slashing him with a knife on the same date.

Superficial injuries

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said: "If you pick up a knife and start slashing it at your partner it may be no risk to the public, but it is certainly a risk to your partner.

"When you are well-oiled it is to an extent the luck of the draw what injuries might be sustained.

"Thankfully, the injuries were superficial and he's standing next to you in the dock and not lying in the morgue. That could quite easily have happened."

He ordered both accused to carry out 125 hours unpaid work as part of a community payback order in relation to the neglect charge and deferred sentence on the assault charges against Cawthorne.

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