Family guilty of neglecting toddler before pond drowning

The mother, father and grandmother of a toddler who died after drowning in a garden pond pleaded guilty to child neglect yesterday.

Daniel Rees-Smith, two, was found in the water at his grandmother Hilary Rees's home on 4 June last year.

Mrs Rees, 44, Daniel's mother Charlotte Rees-Smith, 20, and father Andrew Marshall, 22, originally faced charges of manslaughter and neglect.

However, ahead of their trial at Bristol Crown Court yesterday, the trio pleaded guilty to child neglect, which was accepted by the prosecution. Rees and Rees-Smith pleaded guilty on the basis they neglected Daniel over a 13-month period, the court heard, while Marshall accepted he had neglected Daniel on the day of his death.

The Crown said it would not pursue manslaughter charges against the three defendants. Rupert Lowe, for the prosecution, said: "The pleas offered represent responsibility taken by all three defendants, who the Crown says bear responsibility for what happened to Daniel Rees-Smith."

Rees, of Mount Hill Road, Hanham, Rees-Smith, of Hicks Court, St George, Bristol, and Marshall, from Wrington, Somerset, spoke only to enter their pleas and confirm that they understood proceedings.

Mr Justice Maddison told them: "I am not giving you any indication of the final outcome. You are to be sentenced on very serious charges."

The sentencing hearing is expected to take place on 21 July.