Tayside and Central Scotland

Mother tells of toddler tumble dryer ordeal

Dundee Sheriff Court
Image caption Thomas Dunn is standing trial at Dundee Sheriff Court

A 13-month-old girl who was allegedly put in tumble dryer before it was turned on would not have been able to climb into the machine by herself, a court has heard.

The child's mother told a jury the toddler was not strong enough.

Thomas Dunn, 25, is on trial accused of endangering the child's life by putting her in the machine at his flat in Arbroath and turning it on.

It is alleged to have happened between the end of 2017 and the start of 2018.

The witness told Dundee Sheriff Court she would not make false accusations and said she was seeking "closure" for her child.

The child's mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed she had turned around from washing dishes at her friend's home to see her girl in the tumble dryer.

'Two thuds'

Prosecutor Nicola Gillespie asked the witness: "Would (the girl) have been able at that stage... to climb in there (the dryer) on her own if the door was open?"

The woman replied: "No, she wasn't strong enough on her legs at that point."

Earlier, she told the trial how she heard two thuds which drew her attention.

"I just instantly thought that she'd been put in it (the dryer) because of how loud it was," she said.

The witness described hearing screaming while the child was still in the machine and agreed that Mr Dunn had initially refused to hand the girl over after switching the machine off.

Asked about Mr Dunn's demeanour, the woman replied: "There was just no emotion. I felt like he felt like it was a joke.

"But I didn't and I was really angry with it."

The witness said it took five to 10 minutes for the girl to calm down after the event and described how the youngster was screaming and trying to get away from the accused, who was holding her.

'You suffocate them'

The woman also spoke of an incident around the same time of year when she said she saw Mr Dunn moving to put his hand over the child's mouth and nose.

The court heard she told police in a statement: "Out of nowhere, Tom said if kids find it hard to sleep you suffocate them by putting your hand over their mouth and nose for a number of seconds until they go drowsy."

Defence advocate Niall McCluskey put it to the witness that the incidents could not have been so serious since she had left her child in Dunn's care following the tumble dryer incident.

She said she disagreed and told the court: "I wouldn't accuse someone or make an accusation like that.

Dunn, of Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, denies three charges of assaulting the child.

Dunn also denies assaulting a young boy on various occasions between April 2015 and January 2018 by placing a hand over his mouth and pinching his nose, restricting his breathing.

The case, before Sheriff Alastair Brown and a jury continues.

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