Man found guilty of cruelty to child in Sheffield

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A former manager for an international pharmaceutical firm has narrowly escaped jail for beating a child.

John Vaughan, aged 53, was convicted by a Sheffield Crown Court jury of one offence of child cruelty after trial in June.

The complainant, now an adult, claimed he had been ill-treated from the age of four up until to his early teens while living in Sheffield.

Simon Kealey, defending Vaughan at a sentencing hearing, said although the boy complained of regular beatings there was an absence of physical injury.

Teachers and health care workers had not noticed anything and although Vaughan, now of Brighton, had the capability to inflict serious injury it was not his intention.

The court was told there was no evidence of him ill-treating any other children.

Mr Kealey said Vaughan was a company director having risen from humble beginnings to hold a senior position in a pharmaceutical firm.

Judge Simon Lawler gave him an 18-month jail term suspended for two years and ordered him to pay £2,000 compensation to his victim.

Vaughan was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

The judge said the jury found he had gone ‘beyond chastisement’.

“There is no doubt the victim was caused real stress by your behaviour,” he said.

It had caused him problems ever since and he needed counselling although the beatings stopped 15 years ago.

Judge Lawler said: “Over many, many years you have led a professional, industrious and successful life.

“In all other respects you were very highly spoken of in all departments. “

The judge said that Vaughan had contact with other children including those of his friends ‘without any complaint whatsoever’.

He added: “You are now in a settled relationship and have a responsible job and I can see no reason or purpose in sending you immediately to custody.”