THE HERALD-SUN, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Saturday, August 21, 2004.

Mum tortured son's 13-year-old mate

By Christine Caulfield
August 21, 2004

A MOTHER of three kidnapped and tortured her son's 13-year-old schoolmate after wrongly accusing him of having designs on her daughter, a court heard yesterday.

Leah Leishman, 38, lured the boy from school and drove him to her Crib Point house where she systematically interrogated, bashed and humiliated the terrified child.

The County Court was told Leishman beat the boy with a baseball bat, punched him in the face repeatedly and threatened to circumcise him with a razor during the two-hour ordeal on June 16 last year.

She also set her dog on him, wrote the word liar on his head with a Texta and threatened to burn him with a cigarette lighter.

Prosecutor Michael Tinney said Leishman had "got it into her head" that her son's good friend, who often stayed the night in the family's home, wanted to rape her 11-year-old daughter.

But the boy had no such intention and was now emotionally damaged for life, he said.

"Because she was afraid of harm to her 11-year-old, she's forever harmed an innocent 13-year-old," he said.

The court heard Leishman recruited her former foster daughter's boyfriend, Jason Sheales, 22, to help her. She then drove to the boy's school and tricked him into getting in her car. After repeated beatings and threats the boy was bound and gagged, and locked in a shed.

Sheales was sentenced earlier this month to six months jail, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to his role in the abduction and assault.

Leishman's husband, who came home hours later, freed the boy and drove him to Frankston railway station to catch a train home.

Leishman pleaded guilty to child stealing, false imprisonment, intentionally causing injury, threatening to inflict serious injury and an indecent act with a child under 16.

She was released on bail for sentencing by Judge Ross Howie later this month.

(File created 21 August 2004)