A YOUNG girl with severe dermatitis on her hands was subjected to cruel punishment from her mother and stepfather, who rubbed chillies into her split skin and took turns hitting her hands with wooden rods until they bled.
The Southern Downs girl confided in a teacher about the abuse when she was in Year 8, showing the educator bruises she said were caused by her stepfather.
When police spoke to the girl, she told officers her mother got chillies from the garden and her stepfather cut the end off one and rubbed it on her hands and forced her to eat the rest.
The man then cut the end off another one and put it up the girl's nose and then forced her to eat the rest.
The Warwick District Court last week heard the girl was later in her room crying when her mother came in with a knife and jabbed her in the leg with the tip, causing a 1cm wound.
It was heard the abuse was in retaliation to the girl not having asked her mother's permission to go to a friend's house.
The girl also recalled a time when she was cleaning the house while her parents were cooking dinner and her stepfather "randomly" hit her in the head with a closed fist, which she said caused pain and blurry vision.
On other occasions the parents would put chillies, curry and pepper in the girl's dinner and the mother hurled a wooden spoon at the girl, causing her head to bleed and the spoon to split.
The girl also told police her stepfather, who is of a larger build, sat on her, covered her mouth and pushed on her neck, which made it hard for her to breathe.
The court heard the man also hit the girl on her legs, buttocks and back as he pinned her to the ground.
Photos taken of the girl after she spoke to police showed what Judge Brendan Butler descried as "very obvious bruising" on her wrist, back, thigh and buttocks.
Mr Butler said the abuse was an excessive form of discipline.
"Our law does allow parents to discipline their children but they have to do so in reasonable bounds. This went way beyond what is reasonable," he said.
The court heard the couple had other children together and none of them had been subjected to any similar treatment.
Neither parent had any previous history and references tendered to the court regarded them as "good and loving" parents.
During sentencing, the gallery was filled with family members who the couple's barrister said were "totally supportive of these two individual's as parents".
The young girl is no longer in the couple's care but they regained custody of their other children.
Both pleaded guilty to assault and assault occasioning bodily harm while in company and were each sentenced to 12 months jail, which was suspended for three years.