Mother guilty of neglecting children

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The Independent Online

A mother who left her four small children at home while she flew off for a holiday in Tenerife was sentenced to two years' probation on Friday.

Amanda Woods left her two sons and daughters, all under 10, in the care of her 16-year-old sister – which was only discovered when a fire broke out at home and they had to be rescued.

Mr Justice David Hale told Ms Woods, 28, that she had only escaped jail because the children were unharmed.

He said: "You, as a mother of four children between the ages of three and nine, behaved in a selfish way. You paid little attention to their true needs.

"What worries me is the fact you still don't recognise what you did amounts to neglect."

Ms Woods was anything but apologetic as she left Warrington Crown Court yesterday.

Her solicitor said: "Amanda Woods is disappointed with the verdict. She considers the arrangement she made for the care of the children to be appropriate. She is concerned about the public misconception that the children were left only with her sister. They were in fact left with their two grandparents, two regular babysitters and her sister... and an application for leave to appeal will be lodged next week."

Ms Woods took a holiday in January last year after winning £250 on the National Lottery. Her absence was only discovered when vandals set fire to an old sofa outside the family home in Warrington, Cheshire, and fire crews had to rescue the children.

The youngsters, now in the care of their paternal grandparents, were treated for smoke inhalation. Woods was found guilty of four counts of neglect after a trial last month. Her solicitor said yesterday that Woods wanted to be reunited with her children and would co-operate with social services.