A NURSERY worker dangled a child upside down until blood vessels around his eyes burst.
In another horror incident Caroline Bell lifted up a child by his ankles, carried him across the room then “dumped” him on his head.
Shocked co-workers told a trial that Bell then “joked” about the incidents – and “talked about it as if she was talking about what she had had for tea”.
Bell had denied the charges but was found guilty of carrying out the two assaults at the Busy Bee nursery in Cupar, Fife – now known as Little Beehives.
The nursery’s owners said they “fully supported” the police throughout the prosecution and that Bell had been sacked when the allegations came to light.
Sian Conway, 22, a former worker at the nursery, told a trial at Dundee Sheriff Court that she was the whistleblower who flagged up two specific incidents to bosses – leading the cases to be reported to the police.
She said Bell had been her senior at the nursery, where she had worked for five years before going to work at a children’s hospice in England.
Miss Conway said: “I was working with Caroline – she was my senior.
“There was an incident involving one of the children on the climbing frame.
“The child had bitten another child and Caroline went over to deal with the situation.
“She picked him up off the climbing frame and had him upside down by the ankles.”
Miss Conway wept as she told the court: “She walked him across the room, dangling him by the ankles all the way.
“Then she dumped him on the floor – she dropped him from stomach level, she just let him go.
“Then she came over to me and had a laugh about it – she made a joke of it.”
Describing another incident, Miss Conway added: “I was on holiday – I only know about it because Caroline told me about it when I came back.
“Before I’d gone away we had been playing with the kids – holding their hands and letting them walk up our legs until they were almost upside down.
“One of the children didn’t like it when he got horizontal, he’d become upset when we did it before.
“She told me that when I’d been off she was doing that with children and she had done it with that child, but he had got so upset that blood vessels had popped in his eye.
“The way she talked about it was as if she was just telling me what she had had for tea.”
Bell, 44, of Lorraine Drive, Cupar, denied two charges of assault and one of ill-treating children at the nursery.
After a summary trial at Dundee Sheriff Court she was found guilty of the two assault charges, committed between November 1 2013 and February 26 2014.
The Crown said they were no longer seeking a conviction on the ill-treatment charge at the beginning of the trial.
That charge had alleged that she “emotionally abused children in a manner likely to cause them unnecessary suffering” by speaking to them in an inappropriate manner and threatening them with physical abuse.
Sheriff Simon Collins QC deferred sentence until next month for social work background reports and ordered Bell to appear on that date.
Jennifer Martin, owner of Little Beehives nursery, said: “Childrens’ wellbeing is our number one priority and we fully support the actions of the police in bringing this action against an ex-employee who was dismissed from our service.”