Woman in bizarre torture case jailed

August 27, 2004 - 1:24PM

A woman who beat her son's friend with a baseball bat, punched him and threatened to circumcise him was sentenced to four months in prison today.

Leah Leishman, 38, tortured the 13-year-old after accusing him of wanting to rape her daughter.

The County Court in Melbourne was today told Leishman lured the boy from school and drove him to her Crib Point home where she terrorised, bashed, ridiculed and humiliated him.

Judge Ross Howie said Leishman, who has four children, accused the boy of having "evil intentions" towards her 11-year-old daughter.

She then beat him with a baseball bat, punched him in the face repeatedly and threatened to circumcise him with a razor on June 16 last year.

She also threatened to burn him with a cigarette lighter, wrote the word liar on his forehead with a texta, set her dog on him and locked him in a shed.

Prosecutor Michael Tinney had earlier said Leishman had "got it into her head" that the boy, her son's good friend who often stayed at the family's home, wanted to rape her daughter.

Leishman's husband, who came home hours later, freed the boy and drove him to a railway station to catch a train home.

Leishman pleaded guilty to child stealing, unlawful imprisonment, intentionally causing serious injury, threatening to inflict serious injury and an indecent act with a child under 16.

Judge Howie sentenced her to 18 months prison with 14 months suspended for what he described as "outrageous" behaviour.

She has already served 20 days in prison.

The court was told the boy had suffered "considerable emotional stress", including a fear of going to other people's homes, difficulty sleeping and not trusting adults.

"This boy did nothing to deserve the mistreatment by you, but even if he did you had absolutely no right to treat him the way you did," Judge Howie said.

Leishman had drug and alcohol problem at the time of the incident, had suffered domestic violence and had a troubled childhood, the court was told.