Fife children as young as three battered with belt for years
A woman has been finally jailed for physically abusing three young children at addresses in Fife.
The children – one was just three at the time – were repeatedly struck with a belt and her hand, in assaults which took place over a period of more than three years.
They were carried out by Vita Zartman (49), who had initially avoided a jail term for her cruel acts when she was put on a community payback order.
However, she then began to take heroin and failed to comply with the order.
Zartman, who previously lived in Rosyth, Kirkcaldy and Thornton, appeared from custody at Dunfermline Sheriff Court to be have a new sentence imposed.
Zartman, who was accompanied in the dock by a Russian translator, had previously admitted four charges.
On repeated occasions between 16th April 2013 and 16th June 2016 at addresses in Rosyth and Kirkcaldy, she assaulted a girl, then aged between five and eight years, by repeatedly striking her on the body with a belt and repeatedly striking her on the head and body with his hand, all to her injury.
On repeated occasions between 16th April 2013 and 16th June 2016 at the same addresses, she assaulted a boy then aged between three and six years, by repeatedly striking him on the body with a belt to his injury.
On repeated occasions between 16th April 2013 and 16th June 2016 again in Rosyth and Kirkcaldy, she assaulted a boy, then aged between eight and eleven years, by repeatedly striking him on the body with a belt and repeatedly struck him on the head and body with her hand.
Zartman also admitted that between 1st January and 16th June 2016, she wilfully mistreated five children, neglected, abandoned and exposed them to unnecessary suffering by failing to provide them with adequate food, failed to provide them with adequate clothing, failed to maintain their personal hygiene, failed to provide clean bedding and neglected their physical welfare.
The case had gone on for so long because Zartman failed to appear in court in November 2018 and was arrested on a warrant.
She was then in custody until May this year when she was placed on a community payback order.
Defence solicitor Catherine Chalmers said, “She admits she has made some very silly decisions in her life and she knows she needs help. She was released in May and things again got on top of her.
“She has had heroin addiction problems and she now has immigration issues.”
Sheriff Charles MacNair told Zartman, “These were extremely serious offences, including assaulting children with weapons. You were given the opportunity of a non-custodial sentence when you appeared here in May.
“You then breached that order when you began taking drugs. This meant the order was unworkable.”
Sheriff MacNair jailed Zartman for 17 months but reduced this to seven months because of the time she had spent on remand.