University boss tried to suffocate child

Kerry Fenton
Kerry Fenton
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A former university manager who tried to suffocate a young boy has been given a hospital order.

Kerry Fenton, 44, formerly a quality and postgraduate manager at Lancaster University’s management school, admitted two offences of child neglect against the youngster, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Preston Crown Court heard two charges of attempted murder were to lie on file.

Fenton, of St Michael’s Road, Kirkham, spoke only to confirm her name.

Prosecuting, Frances McEntee said: “This is a very sad case.”

He told the court on the morning of July 29, 2014, Fenton appeared to have attempted to commit suicide. It then emerged she had tried to suffocate a youngster with a pillow after taking tablets.

The youngster had later reported she was “being a bit weird and sort of acting like a monster.”

In the following months she spent two periods in a psychiatric hospital.

Mr McEntee added: “It is apparent from all the evidence this was a particularly difficult time for the defendant.

“Had it not been for the defendant’s illness it’s the position these offences would not have been committed, albeit this defendant has acted wilfully.”

Fenton had described herself as a “wicked person” to doctors.

The court heard her marriage had broken down and she was suffering severe anxiety and depression, with psychotic symptoms.

Kim Hollis, defending, said she was highly distressed and remorseful. She said: “In relation to both offences she always accepted full responsibility.

“These offences were total out of character, she is a lady of exemplary character.”

She said work related difficulties had had an impact on her - and that she had been undermined and subjected her to bullying over two-year period by a colleague.

She added: “She suffered in silence trying to cope and hold everything together for a number of months before consulting a doctor.”

A university spokesman previously confirmed Fenton had resigned from her post.