A former nanny has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after she was found guilty of cruelty towards three children in her charge. A US court delivered the verdict on Tuesday (22 August).
Lidia Quilligana, 32, was taking care of a three-year-old girl and one-year-old twins in Connecticut for about a year when the torture came to light. She was accused of burning the girl's hands and legs on a stove, pulling her up by her hair and shutting her inside a toy chest. She was also accused of ripping hair off the children's heads.
The abuse was part of ongoing trauma directed at the three children in her charge.
Hidden cameras installed in December 2014 by the family she was working for, after they grew suspicious that she could be harming the children, captured the abuse and Quilligana was arrested on 27 March 2015 in Danbury.
Quilligana's defence lawyer, Jenn Tunnard, who described her as a "sad person who lost control", said her actions were "unfathomable". He argued that she herself was abused as a child, so she was using the only discipline method she knew.
However, prosecutor Sharon Dornfeld said Quilligana had tortured the children. "There was an amount of sustained and depraved cruelty that I've never seen before. She tortured those children."
"I couldn't control myself," Quilligana said through a court interpreter. "Believe me, I loved those children with all my heart. I'm sorry a thousand times."
"To be frank, I'm not the one you should apologise to. You need to own up to what you did and serve your time. There is no excuse for your behaviour," the mother of the victims said in a brief statement to the court.
Judge Kevin Russo, who delivered the verdict, said 15 years "doesn't even come close to fitting the crime".