A judge has praised two teenagers who testified in court against their mother as he jailed the woman for blighting her children's lives.
Linda Clappison, 46, who has shown no remorse since her arrest, was given two concurrent terms of 18 months for starving, beating and torturing her younger son and daughter. According to her children, she changed "disastrously" after a meeting with a fortune teller.
A trial at Hull crown court heard how her son, Andrew, who is now 18, was "treated like a dog", forced to sleep without bedding in rooms so cold he needed hospital treatment for frostbite. Her daughter, now 13, told the jury her mother had shaved her hair off five times to humiliate her at school. Both children were made to work long days at travellers' market stalls – the girl when she was aged under 10.
The children - aged 10 and six when the abuse began - were fed only sandwiches, beaten and tortured by their mother and locked in their rooms where the light bulbs had been removed.
Hull Crown Court heard that Clappison, a mother of four Meyingham Marsh, East Yorkshire, also shaved her daughter's head five times as a 'punishment' for wanting to look pretty, but told people she had done it because the girl wanted to look like Britney Spears.
The children, now aged 18 and 13, told the court their mother changed 'disastrously' after meeting with a fortune teller. Her son Andrew said: "We were treated like dogs."
Judge Mettyear told Clappison: "This is, in many ways, a tragic case for all those concerned. Nobody sitting through the trial, as I did, could fail to be moved and impressed by your four children.
"They were the sort of children that any parent thinking clearly and sensibly would admire.
"They were measured, sensible and pleasant. That's a credit to them, rather than to you, that they have somehow survived what you have put them through and turned out well."
The judge said he believed something must have happened in Clappison's life for her to act in such a 'strange and illogical way' but admitted he had no way of knowing if it was due to meeting the fortune teller.
He told her:
"I am satisfied that something changed and changed with disastrous consequences."
The court heard that the Clappison had been a 'perfectly good mother' for a 'long period' in her children's lives. Judge Mettyear said: "The children, with great fairness, said that there was a long period when you were a perfectly good mother, caring and, if anything, overprotective.
"And that then something went very, very badly wrong in your life and your mind and caused you to change and treat them in the way that you did."
Clappison refused to admitted her crimes and branded her children 'liars' who she would never consider reconciling with.
Judge Mettyear told her: "It is sad that seeing your children in court giving evidence did not in any way melt your heart.'"
Jailing her for two concurrent 18 months sentences, the judge said: "You blighted the lives of those children and only custody can be justified."
What an awful story.