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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Carlisle mum sentenced after toddler plunges from window

This is the mother whose young daughter fell headfirst out of an upstairs window as she lay in a drunken stupor.

Jennifer Carlton photo
Jennifer Carlton

Her identity can be revealed as 32-year-old Jennifer Mary Carlton, of St Nicholas Street in Carlisle city centre.

She has been handed a 60-day suspended prison sentence by city magistrates.

The media had originally been banned from naming her because of the nature of her court case.

But those restrictions were lifted following a legal challenge from The Cumberland News.

District Judge Gerald Chalk agreed that naming the mother would have no “direct impact” on the child because of her young age. He added that lifting the ban might help that child and children in general by serving as a “deterrent” to other parents.

He said: “The consequences of your failure to supervise were serious and could have been far more serious.

“It is clear you are a woman who cares for her child and if you can overcome this problem [with alcohol] I suspect that the majority of the concerns would be addressed.”

Carlton, who pleaded guilty to ill-treating or neglecting a child, appeared at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court clutching her mother’s hand and sobbing.

The court heard how a horrified neighbour had seen the child “dangling” out of an upstairs window of a house in a street off Warwick Road on April 16. He then saw the child plunge headfirst, hitting the top of a bay window before landing on the ground.

Adrienne Harris, prosecuting, said the man thought he would be “picking up a dead child.”

However, after the fall the toddler was still trying to get up.

“She was not crying at first, but then she started to scream,” the prosecutor added.

The child suffered fractures to her jaw and cheekbone and was bleeding heavily from her mouth and nose.

All attempts to rouse her mother by banging on the door failed. Police had to use a battering ram to get into her home where they found her fast asleep. Tests showed that Carlton had 136mg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath – nearly four times the drink-drive limit.

The court heard that Carlton began to drink excessively after she split up with the child’s father and used alcohol to deal with anxiety. Ms Harris said Carlton been prescribed anti-anxiety tablets which she knew not to mix with alcohol.

Geyve Walker, defending, said his client has been in daily contact with Cumbria Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service (CADAS) since the incident and was now “completely abstemious”.

He added: “This is a single occasion of neglect. There is no suggestion that she has deliberately harmed her child.

“Everything was in order at home. There is no indication that the household management was in any way defective.”

Social services and the family courts are involved in separate proceedings. Carlton is allowed supervised access to her daughter.

Her suspended sentence runs for two years. She was also ordered to attend a six-month alcohol treatment course and pay £85 costs.

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