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A golfing-mad father obsessed with turning his young sons into future golf champions subjected them to punishment beatings whenever they fluffed their shots. The fanatical 33-year old dreamt his two boys, aged six and eight, would both become the ‘next Tiger Woods’ and would give the children golf tuition at home before school every day and then later at his local golf club or in nearby fields.
But whenever the youngsters played poorly at the driving range, mis-hit a tee shot, missed a putt or went into the bunker, their pushy father would fly into a rage and beat them with a golf club.
The 33-year old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, dreamt his sons, aged six and eight, would both become the ‘next Tiger Woods’ (above)
On occasions, he even sank his teeth into and pinched the skin of the youngsters. Despite the elder child winning a junior golf tournament, he was struck on the leg with a golf iron when he played a bad shot and also had a ball hurled at him from feet away, gashing and bruising his ear.
The younger child, who was hit in the knee with a ball, was left with multiple injuries, including a scratched eye. The father from Burnley, Lancashire, was arrested after the six-year-old turned up at school distressed, with a mark to his face, and a teacher asked him what had happened.
At Burnley Crown Court, the man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – admitted two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm and one of common assault, in June last year. He was given 52 weeks in jail, suspended for two years, with 12 months’ supervision. Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said he gave his sons golf tuition before and after school every day and if they did not play well, they would be assaulted. When police spoke to the boys, the children told them they enjoyed golf and said it was ‘their job’.
The six-year-old said: ‘We are going to be championship golfers when we get older.’ The father’s wife was said to be unaware of the pain he was inflicting on their sons, even though the trio had golf lessons in the living room every morning before school. She was upset and sobbed when she found out and he had to leave the family home.
He is now only allowed contact with his sons by the local authority. After the six-year-old went to school injured last June 10 and told his teacher that his father had pinched his eye as they played golf that morning, the authorities became involved. Both boys were taken for medical attention and were interviewed by the police.
Miss Statham said the younger boy told officers his father had also grabbed his leg in a ‘clawing action’ and he had been hurt and upset. The eight-year-old was struck in the knee with a golf club and his ear was cut after his father threw a golf ball at him, from about four feet away. A paediatrician who examined the boy found several other injuries to the ear.
The younger child had pinching injuries on both hands and his thigh, his face and the top of his scalp were scratched and he was bruised. Miss Statham said the defendant was arrested and interviewed last June 11 and insisted a lot of the injuries were accidental.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Carolyn Smith, for the father, said he was ordinarily very much a family man, who lived for his wife and children.
He had been separated from his family since the offences after the involvement of child protection agencies and that had served as significant punishment already, before the punishment he would receive in court. The barrister said: ‘They are clearly serious offences and he does now acknowledge that.’
She continued: ‘He had an almost obsessive desire for his sons to become championship golf players.’ Miss Smith said the defendant had a ‘loving relationship’ with his sons and had been having contact with them. She added: ‘To deny the defendant his liberty at this stage would mean the children would be denied contact with their father.’
Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt told the defendant his actions must have hurt the children considerably and said it was ‘beyond belief’ that as their father, he had assaulted his children over golf shots.
She said: ‘This is child cruelty. It’s inexcusable and I do not believe any right-thinking person could make any sense of it whatsoever. ‘If you permit your obsession with golf to overcome you again and lay a finger on either of them, you will immediately come back before me and I will send you to prison.’