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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Carlisle dad spared jail after leaving son, 2, alone in house

A father who abandoned his child as he fled to avoid an argument has narrowly avoided prison.

Craig Cameron McIntosh photo
Craig Cameron McIntosh

Craig Cameron McIntosh, of Cartmel Drive, Morton West in Carlisle, had previously admitted one charge of willfully assaulting, ill-treating, neglecting or abandoning Riley McIntosh.

The 28-year-old appeared before District Judge Gerald Chalk at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court where he was sentenced to 60 days in prison, suspended for one year.

The judge agreed to lift reporting restrictions previously put in place, despite strong opposition from McIntosh’s solicitor.

Judge Chalk said he felt the child could not be adversely affected by the coverage because of his age. He added that naming the father would enable the community to offer support to Riley, as well as acting as a deterrent to other parents.

The charge relates to an incident overnight on April 13 and 14. McIntosh’s partner had gone out drinking with her brother, leaving him to babysit their then two-year-old son Riley.

Prosecutor Jane Mackrill said: “Mr McIntosh woke to the sound of people arguing in the street, and heard his partner arguing with the neighbours.

“He immediately left the house by a downstairs window and the child was left asleep in bed.”

She told the court that the police arrived shortly afterwards to deal with the altercation outside. McIntosh continued to hide and made no effort to speak to police.

They subsequently discovered the child asleep upstairs. His partner was initially arrested but when McIntosh was arrested later that morning he admitted abandoning the child.

“In his interview he explained that in the last week or so, they had been having problems with neighbours,” Mrs Mackrill continued.

“He woke up to the sound of arguing and could hear one voice was that of his partner. There were a lot of people there so, in his own words, he ‘took stash’.”

The defendant later told police that he had not spoken to them when they arrived because he didn’t want the neighbours to know he was home.

He admitted that Riley could easily have woken and walked out of the bedroom, or that the argument could have spilled inside his house where the child was alone.

Mrs Mackrill added: “When it was put to him that he was more concerned with his own safety than that of the child, he stated he was ‘disgusted’.

Rebecca Stanning, defending, said the case “spoke for itself”, admitting her client had put himself before his child.

However, in mitigation, she said that McIntosh and his partner had been working with social services and submitted part of a report which described them as a “loving” family.

Sentencing him, Judge Chalk said: “Your actions on this night were entirely selfish. Fortunately no damage was done, but that is not thanks to your actions.”

He said he had shown some leniency after reading the report from social services. McIntosh was also ordered to pay £85 costs.

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