A TREE surgeon from Evesham has been jailed for a total of six years and six months after being found guilty of child cruelty.

Wayne How was convicted of nine offences, eight concerning cruelty to a person under the age of 16.

The 33-year-old was also found guilty of one count of actual bodily harm on his partner after he pulled out her hair and threatened to suffocate her using a plastic bag.

The jury at Worcester Crown Court retired for three days, after a monthlong trial, before returning nine guilty verdicts.

How was cleared on five separate charges of cruelty.

His Honour Judge Michael Cullum sentenced How at Worcester Crown Court on Wednesday, December 11.

Prosecutor Malcolm Morse alleged the ill treatment of the youngsters, a boy and a girl, took place between January 1, 2002, and September 8, 2012.

Mr Morse said the victims were subjected to verbal and physical abuse, compelling them to fight each other and other children.

Judge Cullum complimented the children, who were now doing well at school.

Jason Aris, for How, said he had found it difficult to obtain work after being released from a two-year prison sentence imposed in 2006 for violence. He had since spent more than 350 days on curfew and the judge agreed that 179 days should be deducted from his sentence.

The judge also made a restraining order preventing How from contacting the victims.

He described How, of Windsor Road, Evesham, as a bully who was cunning, deceitful and a liar. He had shown sadistic behaviour as he controlled and manipulated his victims.

After the hearing, Detective Constable Andrew Daniel, of the protecting vulnerable people unit at Worcester, said: “We are satisfied with the sentence handed down and hope this will go some way towards helping the victims rebuild their lives.

“Wayne How is a cruel, manipulative man who used his size and strength to intimidate others. He picked on those who were not in a position to fight back.

“I would like to thank those members of the Evesham community who came forward and helped us get this case to court. Many witnesses gave evidence during the trial under difficult circumstances.”