Mother jailed for leaving girl on her own child alone: You would not do this to dog, judge says

A YOUNG single parent was jailed for six months yesterday, after a court was told she left her two-year-old daughter at home alone during the day, five days a week, for almost a year while she went to work.

'It is a thing you would not even do to a dog,' Judge Michael Harrison Hall said at Warwick Crown Court. The 23-year-old mother, who lives in a village near Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, admitted cruelty to her daughter by ill-treating, neglecting or abandoning her between October 1991 and October last year.

Ian Morris, for the prosecution, said the mother had been living in a bedsit until she was offered a job at a travel agency in Stratford and moved into a furnished house in the village.

At first she sent the girl to a child minder at a farm, but it cost her pounds 50 a week of her pounds 100 take-home pay. When the girl developed asthma she was taken from the farm and the mother could not afford to send her to another child minder.

For the first 10 months the mother returned home at lunch- time to feed her daughter, but the girl became upset when she had to go back to work. 'She could not cope with that, but rather than getting help she then left the child alone all day from 8.45 until 5.45 from August until October.'

Mr Morris said the little girl was left with a drink, some toys, and the television on. The mother removed items which could cause harm from the three rooms the girl had access to - the living-room, her bedroom and a downstairs lavatory. The curtains were kept closed because the mother feared someone would look in and alert social services.

In October last year, social workers were tipped off and alerted the police who got into the house by breaking a window. 'The girl seemed quite happy, but was pleased to have someone to talk to,' Mr Morris said.

The mother told the police: 'It was a choice between food and clothes and a child minder. I don't know if I thought about the risk. I suppose I put it to the back of my mind . . . It was a case of that or not keeping my job and living on benefit,' she added.

Stephen Waine, for the defence, said: 'The most fortunate aspect is that in fact no harm came to the child. It is the fear of what might have happened which is the serious aspect. In fairness, she minimised the risks but never managed to put it out of her mind and sometimes had panic attacks at work.'

The judge said: 'Having had a child, the absolute priority is to look after it. There must be an alternative to leaving a child alone all day, a thing you would not even do to a dog.'

Jailing the mother, whom he ordered should not be identified to protect the girl, who is now living with her grandmother in Essex, the judge said: 'The dangers do not need spelling out. You knew perfectly well it was wrong because you tried to conceal it.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager required for a busy company in...

Recruitment Genius: Controller / Mobile Inspector

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This leading security company requires a prof...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A sales person is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy