David Lamb, referred to as a “sadistic stepfather,” has been found guilty of physical and psychological abuse after his stepchildren came forth and detailed the years of cruel pranks and violence they were subjected to by Lamb.
Lamb would force the children to stay in the dark while he would climb into a loft above their bedrooms late at night, scratching at the ceiling and claiming to be Freddy Krueger, the terrifying character from A Nightmare on Elm Street.
In addition to that, Lamb would hang two of the children from a door frame by their clothing in such a way that the children would actually struggle to breathe. He also got his pet lizards to bite the fingers of the children. Another of Lamb’s stepchildren detailed an incident where Lamb forced one of the children into the trunk of his car and drove around in the dark simply to terrify the child. Another said that Lamb would beat him with a sweeping brush. At age 5, one of the boys was taped to a large ride-on car toy and then repeatedly smashed into the wall, screaming in terror the entire time.
The charges were pressed by Lamb’s former stepchildren, who are now adults, and the events they detailed occurred not just to themselves, but to the children of the woman Lamb developed a relationship with after the relationship with their own mother ended.
According to Julian Taylor, the lawyer prosecuting Lamb, one of the children was targeted because of his darker skin color. Lamb would call him overtly racist names and enter his bedroom at night with a pillowcase over his head before hitting the child in the face.
That child eventually left home to be placed into foster care, and it was around that time that Lamb began another relationship with a woman who had two children, aged 5 and 7. The behavior was repeated with the new set of stepchildren, Taylor said.
“The defendant would hang him from the doorways by his clothing. The defendant would then lock him in cupboards under the stairs in the dark. Music, War of the Worlds, was played loudly to scare them at night.
“He used to own lizards and would make them bite his fingers. Both children were left outside in the cold. He hurled him through a set of doors. The defendant told him not to tell his mother, to say he had fallen over the carpet which he did. On another occasion they were walking the family dog, he tied the lead to Steven’s hand and ordered the dog to run and he was dragged along.”
The boys were also subjected to ice cold baths and often refused access to a toilet.
After his grown stepchildren came forward, Lamb was arrested and posted bailed. However, he failed to turn up for his trial at Preston Crown Court in England. He was found hiding under the bed of his current girlfriend, who is the mother of five children and also happened to be pregnant with Lamb’s child.
Lamb denied all wrong-doing, saying that his former stepchildren were acting out a vendetta that his former partner held against him. His lawyer said that Lamb’s “alleged conduct” was assuredly “mean, nasty, uncaring,” but it wasn’t of a serious nature. He likened it to bullying rather than abuse.
The judge, however, believed differently and dressed Lamb down in court before sentencing him to five years.
“Your cruelty included physical assaults and frequent ill treatment. What you did was completely the opposite to what a parent or step-parent should have done. As little boys they were afraid of the dark and yet you seemed to find it quite amusing […] This was not just a game when a moment of fear would be dispelled by a loving parent. This was deliberately making these three children fearful and terrified […] The term sadistic is not an exaggeration or overstatement for you.”
The judge added, “It’s very clear that each boy has developed into adulthood with some impairment of the capacity to enjoy life. They suffered psychological harm at your hands. You are a very devious, domineering and manipulative man. It’s a matter of concern that until that moment you were arrested, you had been co-habiting with a woman for some months who has five children and is pregnant with a child of yours.”
What do you think? Was David Lamb’s treatment of his stepchildren a matter of bullying, or abuse?
Child abuse is a serious problem, but there are steps you can take to help. Click here to learn the signs and symptoms of abuse.
[Images via The Mirror and shockmansion.com]