A PENSIONER has been warned she could face a prison sentence after admitting disturbing historical child cruelty offences.

Sandra Clayton, 69, admitted three charges of cruelty to a person aged under 16.

The incidents took place in Colchester between 1979 and 1992 and relate to three children in her care at the time but who were not related to her.

Grey-haired Clayton, who was dressed smartly in a black and white shirt and blue trousers, spoke quietly from her position at the back of the courtroom and only to confirm her pleas and that she understood proceedings.

Judge Rupert Overbury warned she could face jail but adjourned sentencing until a pre-sentence report could be prepared by the probation service.

He said: “I am not making any promises at all and I cannot sentence you until I know more about you.

“It may very well result in a prison sentence – I don’t know.

“I will weigh up all the factors of the case and come to a decision.”

At an earlier hearing, the court heard the cruelty included forcing children to sleep naked on freezing floors and swinging them around before letting them go, sending them crashing into a wall as part of a twisted game.

On one occasion one of the victims had to go to hospital after sustaining injuries.

Clayton was also said to have subjected the children to beatings and would insert their own soiled underwear into their mouths if she felt they were not clean enough.

None of the victims in the case can be named because of a court order.

All are now adults and one appeared at the hearing and made a request to read out his victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing next month.

Judge Overbury agreed he could, and asked for representations to be made to other victims to allow them to do the same if they wished.

Clayton, of Chapel Road, Brightlingsea, was given unconditional bail until the sentencing hearing.