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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Child neglect mum sentenced by Carlisle court

A mother has been given a suspended prison sentence after she left her young daughter “home alone” to go shopping in Carlisle.

The child – who is of primary school age – tried to phone her mum when somebody banged on her house door but she got no answer and became so distressed that she dialled 999 for help.

The mother, a woman in her 30s from the east of the city, admitted a single offence of child neglect.

At the city’s magistrates’ court, prosecutor John Moran told how just a few minutes before 7pm on February 27 Cumbria police took the child’s emergency call.

“She was home alone as her mother had gone out to the shops,” said Mr Moran. “She said she was in the bedroom but could hear somebody banging on the door.

“The police attended the address in question and spoke to the child through the letterbox. The child was very distressed and crying.

“She had no keys for the front door and she tried to open a window but could not, having no keys to open that either.”

When the officers finally got inside, said Mr Moran, the child was visibly upset and said her mother had gone out to the shops at 5.30pm.

A search of the house revealed a carrier bag containing “needles”, said the prosecutor, pointing out that they could have injured the girl.

Police spoke to the mother at 8.45pm when she rang from a call box in Carlisle, saying she had tried to contact her child to check she was okay.

When police collected the woman, she was appeared to be under the influence of something, possibly drugs, added the prosecutor.

Defence solicitor John Smith conceded that she had used amphetamine in the days before the incident.

“We have a caring mother who comes home, wants her daughter to go out with her to the shops, and her daughter won’t and the mother does not insist and goes out,” he said. “The daughter was capable of looking after herself.”

Mr Smith described the child involved as “a sensible young lady” who knew what to do if there was a problem.

In future, he said, the mother would be more insistent about the child going with her to the shops.

Magistrates imposed a 10-week jail, suspending the sentence for 12 months. The defendant must also pay £100 prosecution costs, an £80 victim surcharge and do 120 hours unpaid work.

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