Probation for woman who let baby die in squalor: Jury pleaded with judge to be lenient

A MOTHER of seven was put on probation for three years at the Old Bailey yesterday for the manslaughter of her 15-month-old son.

The 37-year-old woman and her 44-year-old husband were convicted in February of causing the death of the baby, who died in squalor and agony, covered in sores in a urine- soaked pram. Last month, the father was jailed for seven years for manslaughter and cruelty to three of the other children. His wife had been cleared of cruelty charges.

The jury of six men and five women who convicted the couple afterwards wrote to Judge Geoffrey Grigson pleading for leniency for the mother.

She was remanded for reports and the judge said yesterday he proposed to put her on probation providing she lived in a probation hostel for the next 12 months.

She left court with her probation officer. Neither she nor her husband can be named for legal reasons. The couple's other children are now subject to an interim care order.

The jury had heard that the mother - who lived with her family in north London - had an IQ lower than that of 98 per cent of the population and was within a mild mental handicap range. She was also partially disabled.

She and her husband had received regular help from an Islington social services worker, but the helper had been on strike for months leading up to the baby's death. None of the children had been put on an 'at risk' register.

The jury heard that the baby lay in a pram in the corner of his parents' bedroom, tied into his sodden baby clothes and facing the wall, and was ignored and had no stimulation for hours on end.

Eventually, he developed ulcers and a nappy rash which covered 35 per cent of his body. Infection took over, followed by blood poisoning. Crying and miserable, in his last hours the baby lapsed into a coma and died from pneumonia.

Doctors who examined the baby afterwards said they had never seen such a bad case of neglect. He was unwashed, unkempt and his fingernails were green. He was regularly abandoned and neither parent liked the social services 'poking their noses' into their business.

They thought any call for assistance might result in the children's removal. But they 'reluctantly tolerated' visits from the key social worker, who supplied them with many hand-outs.

The social worker arranged for the family to be moved into a five- bedroom council house which was completely renovated at a cost of pounds 106,000 in June 1991. They were given carpets, furniture, a new fridge-freezer, a washing machine and a cooker. But in a short period they had reduced it to a 'squalid state', Orlando Pownall, for the prosecution, had told the court.

After the trial, John Bowis, a health minister, described the events leading to the baby's death as a 'shocking saga of neglect and incompetence'.

Islington Area Child Protection Committee has commissioned an independent review into the role of all the agencies involved with the baby and the family. Its findings are expected to be made public by the autumn.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue