A CHILDMINDER cleared of breaking the leg of a little boy said she has 'gone through hell and still not come back'.

Brenda Kennedy, 50, always maintained she had not assaulted the toddler, while he was in her care at Kennedy's Kidz Childcare in Blackburn.

A jury at Preston Crown Court cleared the mum-of-four of causing grievous bodily harm and child neglect as they returned unanimous not guilty verdicts yesterday.

Mrs Kennedy, who ran the nursery with her husband Terry, from the basement of their home in Preston New Road, Blackburn, said she 'felt like she had lost everything'.

Speaking after the hearing, she said: "It was an absolute nightmare, we've been to hell and still not come back.

"We have lost the business, it was closed down by the police a week after the incident.

"We felt like we were constantly being monitored by everyone.

"It was bad enough parents had lost their children's childcare.

"Towards the end it felt like we were being grilled by everyone.

"It has been scary, going to court was intimidating.

"When the court case went in the paper everyone found out and we felt like we had to hide our heads when we went outside."

The couple, who have been together for 20 years, and set up the business in 2002 said they had cared for more than 100 children in that time.

The court was told the toddler's injury was discovered after his mum picked him up from nursery and took him to A&E after realising he was in pain.

Doctors said the 'spiral injury' could only have been caused by 'excessive force' and police were called in to investigate.

Days after the incident, the court heard Mrs Kennedy sent the child's family an accident form after remembering an incident while changing his nappy.

Mr Kennedy, 56, said the couple loved taking the children outdoors and on lots of trips.

He said: "It was scary, we have our own children, we were frightened for them.

"They had to carry on life as normal, they went to college and on the face of it they looked fine, but it must have been unsettling for them too.

"We have so many positive memories with the children we've cared for and with the parents.

"Parents kept asking when we were going to reopen because they knew us and they admired us so much."

Mrs Kennedy said: "The support we've had from parents and our family and friends has been absolutely brilliant.

"Even parents, who didn't know about it until recently, have supported us 100 per cent.

"I'm not happy, I'm relieved. I couldn't even celebrate my 50th birthday properly because of what was going on.

"I loved what we did, it was my passion and I got into childcare because I raised four children and could never afford care, so I wanted to care for others and try and make a career out of it.

"I don't think I will be going back to it anytime soon, it's just too early and I couldn't handle it."