A FORMER auxiliary nurse convicted of harming a child with laxatives with “devastating” consequences for him has been jailed for seven years.

Tracy Menhinick, 52, was found guilty of “wilfully” ill-treating the child in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health on various occasions over the course of three years from 2014.

She administered a non-prescribed medication, namely the laxative lactulose, which caused his development and mobility to be affected and led to him being admitted to hospital.

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Menhinick, of Aberdeen, then consented to treatments, procedures and operations on the child which she knew were unnecessary, “all to his permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life,” the indictment said.

She was convicted in February following a trial at the High Court in Aberdeen.

Menhinick was jailed for seven years when she appeared for sentencing at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Sentencing Menhinick, Judge Lady Drummond said it was “beyond understanding” why anybody would want to inflict such severe harm and suffering on a child over a number of years.

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She said: “The amount of laxatives he was being given by you were such that at times he would have floppy episodes where he became limp and had to be resuscitated.

“You agreed that he should undergo intrusive and risky operations knowing that these were unnecessary and that the need for them had been caused by you.

“You were an auxiliary nurse and knew what you were doing. Even once admitted to hospital you continued to give him dangerous levels of laxatives.

“Why anybody would want to inflict such severe harm and suffering, endangering the life of a young child on multiple occasions over a period of years is beyond understanding.”

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Lady Drummond said that doctors were left “baffled” about why the child’s condition did not improve despite treatment. One of the doctors who gave evidence in the case described the boy as being “emaciated” on his last admission to hospital.

The judge told Menhinick she had abused people’s trust, and that her ill treatment of the boy has had a “devastating impact on his life” and has left him with severe physical scarring.

The court heard that during the trial jurors heard evidence that it is likely the boy may not achieve his full growth potential, and is expected to have psychological difficulties.

The ill-treatment happened on various occasions when the boy was aged between three and six at an address in Aberdeen, at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and elsewhere.

The court heard that a psychiatric report by Dr Forrest said that in his opinion Menhinick suffers from mental disorders and a personality disorder but does not require hospital treatment.

Lady Drummond said that Menhinick’s motivations for her actions are “unclear”.

Frances Connor, representing Menhinick, said that the 52-year-old has suffered from a number of mental and physical health issues from an early age.

She said that according to a risk assessment, Menhinick does not pose a risk to the public.

Connor told the court that the 52-year-old is bed-bound, and added: “It is likely that Ms Menhinick will probably suffer more than the normal person will in custody as a result of her conditions.”

Menhinick, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, sobbed as the sentence was delivered on Tuesday.

The child cannot be named for legal reasons.