Mother went on holiday leaving girl, 14, £100 to survive six weeks

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The Independent Online

A mother who left her 14-year-old daughter at home alone with £100 and a refrigerator full of food while visiting her lover has been convicted of neglect and abandonment and could face jail.

The woman – who has been dubbed a real-life "Shirley Valentine" after the film character who left her life in Britain to find a toyboy – went abroad last April in an attempt to help her younger boyfriend obtain a UK visa, the court heard. She left the fridge and freezer full of food and, the defence claims, instructed a neighbour and her ex-husband, the girl's father, to look after her daughter.

Social services were called after two days and the girl's father looked after her until the mother returned in June. The girl now lives with her father but regularly sees her mother, who denied the charges.

The court heard that the mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, allowed her daughter to have under-aged sex with a boy who stayed at the house while she was away. The daughter spent £60 of the cash on school meals and the rest on CDs and clothes, the court heard.

Last month the lawyer for the prosecution, Shaun Spencer, quoted the teenager as having told police: "She shouldn't have left me on my own."

The neighbour and the girl's father denied being aware they were to look after the teenager.

Presiding, Michael Davies said the mother had "abdicated her responsibilities" towards her daughter who was "vulnerable".