HMA v Lanna Louise Monaghan

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lady Rae sentenced Lanna Monaghan to 3 years, 4 months imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to offences involving the physical abuse of a toddler including the use of an electric dog collar.

11 July 2016

On sentencing, Lady Rae made the following statement in court:

"You have pleaded guilty to a catalogue of offences over a period of 15 months, involving the physical abuse of a defenceless little boy aged between 2 and 3 years. The child did not actually suffer any serious physical injury however it is impossible to determine what the emotional impact on this little boy will be in the future. 

It is clear that you could not cope, but what you did was not just as a result of frustration, impatience, temper or loss of control, although you appear to suggest those as reasons for your conduct. These were, in my view, deliberate attacks on the child and appeared to be, in part at least, punishments for not eating his food or urinating on the floor. You seem to have believed that his behaviour was designed to antagonise you. One of the later incidents involved repeatedly showering him, while naked, with cold water and as he lay wet on the floor you were seen to be kicking him on the body. Thereafter having witnessed the apparent effectiveness of a dog collar which had the capability of giving an electric shock to a dog as means of training and controlling it, you saw fit to acquire one for use on this little boy. I cannot see how any right minded person would use such an instrument on a dog and certainly not on a child. I do not accept your position that you were encouraged or forced to use this collar by a family member because according to the agreed narrative it was the same family member who realised what you were doing and reported you to the authorities. In the end of the day this defenceless little boy must have been terrified of you.

I note that you are now remorseful for what you have done. I have read with great care the detailed criminal justice social work report and the recent psychological assessment prepared on your behalf. You have given an account of your past which, if true, reveals a very unhappy childhood during which you say you experienced physical and emotional abuse. I have also seen the letter from your aunt which confirms an unhappy upbringing. In adulthood you appear to have entered a number of troubled relationships. All of this history may go some way to explain why you acted as you did.
However you are now a 34 year old adult. You have served in the armed forces for a number of years. You have choices which you can make, one of which was a decision to look after a child. You must have known that what you were doing to that child was wrong. The victim of these distressing assaults, on the other hand, was wholly unable to defend himself and I cannot ignore the fact that this abusive and cruel conduct took place over a 15 month period and only stopped after you were reported.
Having regard to the level of violence perpetrated against this child and the period over which it occurred I have no option but to impose a custodial sentence.

The sentence I would have imposed, but for the plea, would have been 5 years. I am prepared to discount that by one third having regard to the stage at which you tendered the plea. The resultant sentence with be a cumulo sentence on all five charges of 3 years and 4 months backdated to 25 May 2016 when you were first remanded in custody."

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