‘Wicked’ Barrow woman injected child with needles contaminated with human poo

A “wicked” Barrow woman repeatedly injected a child with needles she had contaminated with human faeces.

Elizabeth Faragher, 43, has been jailed for five years and 10 months after a court heard she purposefully injured the child, causing abscesses and walking difficulties.

Paul Evans, prosecuting, said the child – who can not be named for legal reasons – was diagnosed with a medical condition when they were young. Faragher was trusted to give them medication, but on numerous occasions in 2016 and 2017 she deliberately soiled the needles before using them.

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As a result of her cruelty, the youngster had “almost constant” admissions to hospital, where doctors carried out invasive tests, biopsies and operations to try and understand the condition. “Since getting out of the unhappy and criminal orbit of the defendant, the only illness they have had is Covid”, Mr Evans said.

The child has been left with deep muscle scars and had to have corrective knee surgery, the court heard. However a victim impact statement, prepared by a social worker, said they are now able to participate in swimming and sport.

Rosalind Emslie-Smith, defending, said at the time of the offending, Faragher was struggling following the death of her husband. She was drinking a bottle of vodka or more a day.

Before the death of her husband she appeared to be “entirely functional”, working full time as a retail manager and participating in fundraising and community event. Faragher has never explained her motivation for committing the offences but has started to access counselling and is now “calmer, less anxious and sober”, Ms Emslie-Smith said.

Faragher, of Albert Street, Barrow, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and five counts of administering a noxious substance. She appeared at Preston Crown Court to be sentenced.

Judge Simon Medland QC, sentencing, said the child would have recovered from their original illness relatively quickly if Faragher had not ill-treated them.

“For almost the next three years they were repeatedly unwell”, the judge said. “They were subject to many hospital visits, stays and interventions in numerous different hospitals across the country. There were biopsies, operations, pain and side effects.

“These arise from one particular reason: because you, repeatedly and on many occasions, injected them with hypodermic needles which you deliberately contaminated with human faeces. You must have been aware of the terrible consequences.”

The judge said Faragher’s offending was “a terrible catalogue of particular cruelty which had, at the time, grave consequences for the victim.” He accepted she was vulnerable following the death of her husband and was suffering from active alcoholism when she committed the offences.

But he said: “This vulnerability in no way excuses your conduct towards this child, who was entitled to look to you for care.”

Throughout the hearing, Faragher hung her head as she sat in the dock.

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