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A man who slapped a three-year-old boy "with as much force as one can imagine" and smeared his body in peanut butter before getting his dog to lick it off in the name of “banter” has been jailed.
Michael Leeson had been left alone with the toddler in 2018 while the boy's mother was away from the home they lived in when he launched the vicious attack, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
He was jailed for two years and four months after admitting child neglect offences.
When the boy’s mother noticed a mark to the boy’s face and ear after the incident, Leeson said that her children would be taken away from her by social services if the injuries were reported.
Leeson also took steps to prevent the young boy from attending his nursery as so that staff working there would not notice the injuries.
The 35-year-old’s efforts failed when a nursery worker did eventually see the marks and the boy was examined by medical experts at hospital.
One doctor came to the conclusion that he had been subjected to a “severe beating” and that he had been struck across the face with an open hand with as much force as Leeson could manage.
Prosecutor Ian Goldsack also revealed that Leeson had smeared peanut butter over the boy’s chest and encouraged his whippet to lick it off him.
He suffered scratches from the dog during what was described as a “degrading” incident.
The judge said there could be no reason for hitting a defenceless child during acts he labelled as “cruel and callous”.
Leeson had been due to stand trial on a charge of assaulting or ill-treating a child, but plead guilty to the offence.
Despite his guilty plea, he continued to deny the offence and the court heard he had previously blamed another child for the injury the young boy sustained at his hand.
Leeson was also said to have taken drugs in front of other children in the same house.
In a pre-sentence report, Leeson continued to deny the slap he had carried out telling a probation officer he must have marked the youngster by accident but that he didn't remember.
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Detective Inspector Simon Leake, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “This was a heart-breaking case in which the young child was not able to articulate what happened to them, so we did all we could to ensure their voice was still heard.
“Protecting the most vulnerable in our society remains a force priority, and we will continue to do everything we can to bring those responsible to justice.”
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