Woman to stand trial on child cruelty charges

Attorney General John Larkin
Attorney General John Larkin

A 72-year-old Belfast woman has been ordered to stand trial charged with child cruelty to a boy and girl up to four decades ago.

Appearing before the city’s magistrates’ court on Thursday on a motorised scooter, the pensioner faced nine counts involving two alleged victims who were in her care.

She has not been named to ensure their identities are protected.

The woman is accused of “wilfully assaulting” the pair while they were under the age of 16 in a way likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health.

The alleged offences were committed within Belfast over a period stretching from 1974 to 1982.

During a preliminary enquiry hearing, the accused declined to call witnesses or give evidence at this stage.

District Judge Meehan granted an application to have the defendant returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court.

She was released on continuing bail of £200 until those proceedings get underway on a date to be fixed.