A 47-YEAR-OLD man has been given a suspended jail sentence for child cruelty towards a boy.

Alexander James Johnson showed no emotion as the judge sentenced him at Worcester Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday).

Prosecuting, Philip Beardwell told the court that 47-year-old Johnson was arrested at a house in Malvern on the afternoon of May 2.

The arrest was made after the boy told police there had been attempts to smother him with a pillow in two bedrooms, and on the sofa.

Mr Beardwell said the incident came to an end when the youngster fought off Johnson, and barricaded himself inside a room.

When Johnson was arrested, a lock knife and suicide note were found on him.

Mr Beardwell explained that Johnson originally denied a charge of attempted murder of the boy.

When police felt there was insufficient evidence for a successful prosecution of attempted murder, a new charge of child cruelty was brought, to which Johnson pleaded guilty at a later hearing.

Defending, Curtis Myrie said the episode had come as result of Johnson suffering from depression and that his client had taken steps in the past to get treatment for this.

Mr Myrie highlighted there had been no physical injury on the child, that Johnson had “accepted what happened from the outset”, and had not been in the right frame of mind at the time of the incident.

“He is a man of previous good character, and there is a realistic chance of rehabilitation,” Mr Myrie said.

Mr Myrie also argued for a community order instead of a jail sentence, pointing out that Johnson had already been in custody for four months since his arrest.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright, in sentencing Johnson, praised the boy for being courageous in managing to fight off his attacker – but stressed that the child would have been terrified.

The judge said he took into account that Johnson had a loss of self control due to his depression, and that there was ultimately no physical harm to the boy.

Judge Cartwright gave Johnson a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for a year. He was also given a community order with 40 days of rehabilitation activities.

Johnson, of West Malvern Road, was also given a restraining order for five years, and ordered to pay £140 costs.